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SPOTLIGHT: The Journey of a Mother and her Daughter

Claudia and JManda

Claudia A. Bray is the Town Clerk, Finance Officer and elected official for the Town of Sandyfield located in Riegelwood, NC which is in the southeastern portion of Columbus County. She has worked with the Town for four years. Prior to that, she was the Town Administrator for the Town of Navassa for six and a half years and an elected official for the Town of Sandyfield. Claudia will receive her Municipal Clerk Certification in March 2018. During the NCAMC Summer Conference in August 2017, she received her North Carolina Municipal Clerk Certification. Coming from the private sector of sixteen years, the public sector was new to her.  Training from surrounding municipalities and the School of Government courses helped her in learning and performing her role in both towns. Her roles allow her to fulfill what she loves most which is helping people. She values the trust citizens place on her when discussing their personal lives and business. Claudia’s passions are helping people and animals (especially big cats and ducks), traveling and, most of all, enjoying her family and friends. Claudia has two daughters, J’Manda Dunston and LaShaya Dunston, and one granddaughter, Alyssa Allen.

While enrolling J’Manda in college, Claudia decided to finish what she had earlier started and in May 2013 she graduated from Shaw University Magna Cum Laude with a B.S. in Business Administration Management and a B.A. in Public Administration. In 2008, she completed the Municipal Administration Course with the School of Government.

In May 2017, Claudia received a call from the Town of Sandy Creek requesting her assistance until they found a new town clerk. Doing what she loves to do best, she jumped right in! As a result, the Town of Sandy Creek hired her daughter, J’Manda Dunston.

J’Manda was hired in August 2017 as the Clerk of the Town of Sandy Creek. The Town of Sandy Creek is in Leland, NC in Brunswick County. J'Manda's enthusiasm and inspiration for being a clerk stems from seeing her mom work as a town clerk for the Town of Sandyfield for four years. This direct exposure allowed for her to understand the importance of the job of town clerk and to see first hand the many hats worn. J’Manda graduated in May 2014 from East Carolina University with a B.S. in Engineering with a concentration in Biomedical Engineering. She is adventurous and fun-loving, just like her mom. She loves to read, play basketball and is family-oriented. Helping others is J’Manda’s passion and she feels she is able to fulfill that passion each and every day as Town Clerk of Sandy Creek.

From J’Manda’s birth, Claudia knew that she and J’Manda would share a special bond because they share a birthday month. J’Manda was born just three days before Claudia’s birthday and was a special birthday gift on September 4, 1991. Not only that, Claudia also shares a special bond with her youngest daughter, LaShaya, as her birthday is August 7, 1993, one month prior to Claudia’s birthday on September 7.

A mother and daughter sharing a birth month is interesting and special, but there is more......these ladies also have the same job title! Claudia not only has the pleasure to mentor her daughter in her personal life, but also in her professional life as Town Clerk of Sandy Creek!

Hats off to Claudia and J’Manda, Clerks of the Towns of Sandyfield and Sandy Creek! What an impressive mother/daughter team! Isn’t it interesting how lives can connect?