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Citing family illness reasons, Don Elder has submitted his resignation from the North Adams school board. The surprise announcement came at the end of Tuesday night's regular monthly board meeting.
Elder was appointed exactly one year ago to what has commonly been called the "swing" seat on the board. Representation for that seat alternates every four years between residents of the city of Decatur and rural residents.
Elder, a retired educator and city resident, was one of four applicants for the position to replace former member Juan Gutierrez. His resignation takes effect next Monday.
Superintendent Dr. Wylie Sirk said school officials fully understand the reasoning for Elder's resignation. "We thank you for the work you've done," said Sirk.
Board president Tim Ehlerding added, "Don, you've been a blessing to this board and I have thoroughly enjoyed working with you. Thank you."
Sirk said the board now has 30 days, starting July 16, to fill the vacancy in its ranks. Elder's term runs through June of 2015. Applications for the position will be accepted until 3 p.m. on Friday, July 20, at the school district's central office. Applicants must be residents of the city of Decatur.
The board has scheduled a special meeting for 6 p.m. on Monday, July 23, to interview applicants.
The North Adams school board later this year will begin the transformation from an appointed body to an elected one, meaning the upcoming appointment to fill the remainder of Elder's term likely will be the last appointment ever made by the board. The panel will swell from its current five-member status to seven members beginning Jan. 1, 2013, following the first-ever general election balloting this November that will add two new members.