by Hunter Dawkins, Publisher/Owner – thegazebogazette@gmail.com or hdawkins@supertalk.fm

After thorough deliberation at a special called meeting Tuesday, March 26, 2024 from the Pass Christian Board of Aldermen, the move to appoint Nicole P. Belt to a full term of five years as a Trustee to the Pass Christian School Board will be placed on the agenda for the April 2, 2024 regular meeting.  Belt replaced trustee Avra O’Dwyer, who resigned in August of 2022 and had two years left on her term.

The board meeting was called to conduct interviews for the School Board Trustee Appointment due to Belt’s term expiring in March of 2024.  Due to Belt being the only candidate who entered an application and showed for an interview, several alderman asked Pass Christian City Attorney Malcolm Jones if they could make the appointment on the spot.

“The eleven-minute interview was a waste of taxpayers time,” said Ward 3 Alderman Kirk Kimball, who mentioned that Jones acknowledged having only one candidate for any interview when he contacted the city of Pass Christian administration.  “This was a simple issue that could have been solved with leadership from the Administration. We are not addressing important issues and Operational Management of the City. This is what I call ‘Managed Decline.”

Jones finished commentary by stating the aldermen approved this method at the Tuesday, March 19, 2024 meeting after the advertisement for the position ran twice in The Gazebo Gazette.

Belt; who currently serves as General Manager for Bacchus on the Beach restaurant, acknowledged her appreciation for being chosen for the full term.

“I am ALL-IN about being a school board member,” expressed Belt, a native of Florence, Mississippi who has lived in Pass Christian over six years, when referencing a memory from an early meeting with the Pass Christian School District.  “To serve in this manner, being able to give back to this amazing community that I am privileged to call home, brings me such joy!”

Along with her husband, Ellison, Belt has been an active volunteer in the city of Pass Christian and the school district, who formerly served as PTO president for the Pass Christian Middle School during 2021-22 and coaching recreational programs in her time spent.  Belt and her husband are the parents of twins; Hardy & Jillian, who are currently high school students at Pass Christian.

Unlike other city school districts, the Pass Christian School Board of Trustees are made of 3 appointed positions for members who live in the municipality and 2 members who reside in the county that are elected, but is reserved for the school district.