Watertown-Mayer school board member Therese Salonek resigned from the school board last week after serving on the board for the last 10 years.
The resignation was announced during last week’s regular school board meeting on Thursday, March 21, and took effect on March 22. Salonek was not able to attend the meeting after it was rescheduled from Monday night to Thursday night because of Monday’s weather.
In a letter to Superintendent Dave Marlette and members of the school board, Salonek said she had “been called to another purpose in (her) life with the adoption of another child.”
Salonek said she would remember with fondness the friends and experiences she enjoyed during her decade on the school board.
“I am very proud of this school district and the high quality of education it provides to our community,” she said in the letter.
School board chairman John McCain said Salonek would be missed. The board also expressed hope that it could honor Salonek at a later board meeting that she is able to attend.
“Therese has been a steadfast champion of our students and district,” McCain said. “She has been a driving force on the board that has shaped the way the board conducts its business, insisting on transparency, integrity and an ultimate focus on student achievement.”
Now, the focus for the school board shifts to appointing a new member to fill Salonek’s seat. Because there is less than two years remaining on her four-year term, the board will be able to appoint a new member and will not need to hold a special election. Had the resignation occurred prior to the filing for last November’s elections, the slot would have been filled through a special election in conjunction with the regular election.
The board must appoint a new member within the next 60 days to a term that will run until the next general election on Nov. 4, 2014. People interested in the position can put together an application form to be reviewed by the board, which will then decide which candidates to interview.
After the end of the shortened term, the appointed member may run for re-election in the general election if they desire. Anyone interested in applying to become a member of the school board should contact the district office at 952-955-0480 for more information.
In other business, the board:
• Approved a new two-year contract with Frontier Communications to provide phone service for the district.
• Recognized recent participants in recent high school state competitions, including gymnasts Brooke Leaf and Caitlin Duske, girls’ hockey players McKenzie Kratch and Taylor Moynagh, swimmer Zach Holman and diver Tristan Gens, wrestlers Austin Torres and Davion Franklin, and state spelling bee top-10 finisher Madison Daniels.
• Discussed the best way to provide teachers with more frequent and regular staff development opportunities. There are currently 10 staff development days per year, but three come before the start of the school year, and two are at the end, and several others coincide with grading periods. Teachers feel that more regular time spaced throughout the year is valuable when it comes to analyzing student data to evaluate programs and student progress, and to guide instruction.
The proposal in front of the school board was one that would take two of the 10 staff development days away (16 hours) and turn them instead into eight separate two-hour late starts spaced evenly throughout the year. The board, however, was less than enthused about the possible inconvenience late starts cause for many parents, especially those with younger students. Instead of making an immediate decision, the board decided to take more time to try to develop a plan that will maximize benefit for teachers while minimizing disruption to families as much as possible.