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Don Elder, a retired educator selected by sitting members of the North Adams school board in May to fill a pending vacancy in their ranks, was issued the oath of office on Tuesday as he officially joined the board.
Elder was selected from among four applicants for the board seat that became open July 1 with the expiration of the term of former board member Juan Gutierrez. The seat is often called the "swing" seat because its representation alternates every four years between residents of the city of Decatur and rural residents. Gutierrez was not eligible to retain the seat.
In his first official action on the board, Elder made a motion that board members accept a $2,000 annual salary, as is permitted by state law. One year earlier, in a 3-2 vote, the board had voted to decline any compensation for their service. Elder's motion, approved in a 4-1 vote, stipulated that each board member could "do as they please" with their salary by keeping it, donating it to charity or returning it to the school district in some fashion.
Ben Faurote cast the lone vote in opposition to Elder's motion, saying the board salaries "is money I'd like to see go into the classroom."
State law allows a maximum stipend of $2,000 per board member, and also permits an additional per diem fee for each board meeting attended. North Adams school board members for years have waived their per diem fees.
A new set of officers for the coming year was also selected by the board, with Tim Ehlerding taking over as board president. Deb Bergman was named vice president and Faurote is the secretary.
Larry Carty was named treasurer, with Kathy Brown the deputy treasurer. Scott Ainsworth was retained as the board's legal counsel.
New principal at Northwest
A vacancy that existed in the administration team at North Adams for only a few weeks was filled on Tuesday evening when Keith Dicke was approved as the new principal at Northwest Elementary School.
Former Northwest principal Becca Lamon submitted her resignation late last month to accept a job with the East Noble School corporation as its curriculum director. Lamon spent the past four years in the North Adams school system, serving as principal at Southeast Elementary for three years before making the shift to Northwest Elementary in the wake of a district-wide classroom reconfiguration prior to the 2010-11 school year.
Superintendent Wylie Sirk recommended the hiring of Dicke, who has been a teacher for the past two years at North Adams, and the board agreed in a 5-0 vote.
Also named to new positions at the school, all in unanimous votes, were Amanda Lohr, Dana Stinson and Keri Salway as teachers at Northwest Elementary; Bryan Lineberry as high school social studies teacher; Sarah Krey as high school assistant girls basketball coach; and Matt Hunter, Chad Taylor and Daniel Boocher as assistant varsity football coaches.
The resignation of Andy Heim as boys varsity track coach was accepted, as was the volunteer status of Steve McBride for the boys basketball program and Annita Boocher for the girls cross-country program.