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Following Conklin – Mt. Angel School Board prepares to fill open seat

By Stephen Floyd

The Mt. Angel School District Board is seeking to fill a vacant seat after the recent passing of Board Member John Conklin.

Board President Shari Riedman
The late John Conklin

The board is scheduled to appoint a new member Feb. 14. Qualified residents have until Feb. 7 to apply.

An appointee must be a registered voter, have lived within the district for at least one year and may not be a district employee. The appointed term would last until 2023.

The seat became vacant after Conklin, 68, died Dec. 2, 2021, after four years on the board. Board President Shari Riedman said Conklin was dedicated to making sure students and families had a voice, and pushed the board to consider how their actions would impact all district residents.

“He brought a sense of really caring about every child, every family in the district,” she said.

Riedman said the new board member should also be committed to the district and be prepared to attend every meeting, in addition to meeting prep and committee assignments. They should also remember the board is non-partisan and decisions should be made after taking time to listen to and learn from feedback.

“It’s really important to be open and respectful of every voice,” she said.

A new appointee will need to jump in with both feet. The board is soon to update the district’s strategic plan, which details how the district will achieve its priorities and prepare for growth. The board also expects to update the district’s long-range facility plan, which identifies high-priority building upgrades.

It’s also developing the partnership with Superintendent Rachel Stucky, who joined the district last July. Riedman said the board and Stucky are “working quite well together” and learning from each other through the transition.

“It’s an exciting time to be part of our school board,” said Riedman.

Though the COVID-19 pandemic has taken a lot of focus away from normal education priorities during the last two years, Riedman said Mount Angel is on track to emerge from this crisis on strong footing. The board has been able to meet in-person since last summer, though Zoom remains available for remote attendance.

“We’re in good shape and I’m excited for the future of our district,” she said.

Applications for the board vacancy can be found at masd91.org. If numerous applications are received, the board may schedule time to conduct initial interviews rather than appoint a candidate Feb. 14.

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