Cape Henlopen school board member Noble Prettyman isn't finished with the school board.
The two-term member has filed for re-election to the 5-year seat he has held for the past decade.
"I'm not in a clique, I clang," said the 67-year-old Milton resident. "But people like my clang, my honesty. It might not be what you want to hear, but I believe in it."
Anyone attending a monthly school board meeting will likely leave knowing exactly what he thinks –whether it's about two elementary schools that lie less than a mile apart in Milton, the educational needs of students today or his opinion on board issues.
Prettyman grew up in a home on Mulberry Street in Milton, the son of a teacher and an ice man who was the son of an ice man. He attended colored schools, Milton Elementary School 196-C and later, William C. Jason Comprehensive High School in Georgetown, before the end of segregated schools in Delaware. He went on to earn degrees at Glassboro State College and Rutgers University and served in the Army during the Vietnam War.
Prettyman taught school in New Jersey and also served as a residential director of the American Institution for Mental Students in New Jersey. He later worked for the U.S. Department of Agriculture before moving back to Milton to work as a counselor.
Now retired, Prettyman lives on Mulberry Street, not far from where he grew up.
Never married and with no children, he said he enjoys focusing on the education of today's young scholars.
"I have the time, the energy and the knowledge. I'm an educator and come from a line of educators," he said. "Education is very important to me, and I feel it's something all children need to be a part of."
Prettyman said he is concerned about children who graduate from high school and go into the workforce. They need skills to get them jobs and, he said, he wants to see Cape schools offer comprehensive courses to prepare them.
He said he also is working with area legislators to write legislation requiring financial certification for school board members before they can vote on district finances.
Then there's the subject of combining Milton Elementary School and H.O. Brittingham Elementary School – two Milton schools that serve identical grades and lie less than a mile apart. He was for a plan to combine the two into one when the issue was raised in 2011. Now, he said, he is ready to bring it up again, even though there is no mention of combining the schools in a recent Facilities Task Force plan that addresses improvements to the district's elementary schools.
Prettyman said he would like to see Sussex Consortium move from its Lewes location to Milton Elementary School and two elementary school buildings built on the H.O. Brittingham Elementary site – a pre-K to second-grade building and a two-story building to house grades 3 to 5.
As a Milton resident and representative on the board, he said, he feels like Milton is considered the stepchild of the district.
"I fight for Milton, but I fight for the whole district," he said. Once he gets on an issue, he said, he stays on it until it's done.
As of press time, Prettyman was the only candidate who has filed to run for the area A seat on the Cape Henlopen school board. The deadline to file is 4:30 p.m. Friday, March 1, at the Sussex County Department of Elections in Georgetown.