The Roswell school board on Tuesday night chose a new school board president in the wake of the abrupt resignation of the school board’s former president, although much of the discussion at Tuesday night’s meeting was about the delay of classes at University High School due to a water line break.
The Roswell Independent School District Board of Education voted unanimously to elect Mona Kirk as the new president of the school board, Ruben James Sanchez as vice president and Alan Gedde as secretary.
Kirk had been the school board’s vice president. Gedde will remain the school board’s secretary.
The school board also discussed filling the vacancy created by the July 28 resignation of Nicole R. Austin.
Interim superintendent Susan Sanchez said the school board has 45 days from the date of Austin’s resignation to fill the District 2 position. Kirk said the school district is accepting applications from community members interested in serving on the school board. School leaders said letters of interest and résumés will be accepted until 4 p.m. Aug. 18, and the school board will interview the finalists in open session.
Questions for prospective school board applicants will be posted in the Roswell Daily Record, school officials said.
“That’s a process that has been done in the past,” Kirk said. “Then start the interviews in late August.”
Those interested in succeeding Austin on the school board must reside within District 2.
District 2 lies in northwest Roswell, between Berrendo Road and West Second Street, primarily west of Main Street.
School board members serve without compensation.
Less than six months after running successfully for the seat in February, Austin said in a statement two weeks ago her decision to resign was due to a need to balance priorities in her life.
“I have found that I cannot give the time and effort needed to be an effective board member and remain dedicated to my priorities,” Austin said in the statement. “Because of this, I must step aside.”
Austin originally joined the board in January 2016 to take over the unexpired term of James Waldrip, who resigned in December 2015 after 13 years due to health concerns. She then won the seat in February, overcoming a challenge by former RISD educator Louis Mestas. Shortly after the election, she was chosen as president.
Ruben Sanchez thanked Austin for her service on the school board at Tuesday night’s meeting. He said Austin would be missed.
“It is a thankless job and it is very stressful at times,” Ruben Sanchez said. “There’s going to be times where you’ve lost your sleep and you’ve lost your appetite on things that are going on. Sometimes, there are hard decisions that you have to make.”
Gedde also thanked Austin for her service and said he was sad to see her go.
Edwards said Austin had a different style of leadership.
“I really respected that lady, her heart was, I would say, in the right place,” Edwards said.
Edwards said he tried to convince Austin not to resign from the school board.
“She made her decision, and I tried to talk her into staying because that’s how much respect I have for her,” Edwards said. “So, good luck and we’ll be seeing her.”
Kirk said resigning was a difficult decision for Austin.
“When we ran for the school board, it was a very difficult time,” said Kirk, who has filled in as president since Austin resigned. “When she agreed to take on the presidency, that was another burden, it’s huge. It’s very time-consuming. I don’t know how anyone does it and holds a full-time job.”
Kirk applauded Austin for putting her family first.
“That took a lot. And as we move forward, team, we’ll get there,” Kirk said. “We’ll move forward and we’ll make the best of it, and thank you, Ms. Austin, for your time served.”
In other news Tuesday night, Susan Sanchez said classes set to begin Thursday at University High School would have to be delayed until Monday due to a water line break at the school.
School officials said the water line break was discovered in a bathroom shared by students and faculty.
Susan Sanchez said automated calls will be made to parents and guardians to alert them of the change of schedule, and the notice will also be posted on the school district’s website. She said Early College High School classes will not be affected.
While classes will start Monday at University High School for the 2017-18 school year, school officials said a date for completion of repairs was not known, and that the school will work around the problem.
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