Archive for March 2nd, 2009

by jhwygirl

School Board trustee Jenda Hemphill has resigned her district-wide board position for health reasons and the school board will be appointing a replacement. There are 10 applicants for the position.

Interviews will be conducted during a public meeting, to be held Thursday, March 5, in the Business Building Board Room, 915 South Avenue West. The meeting begins at 5 p.m.

Below is a list of the applicants (taken from the Missoula County Public School District website). If you click on their names, it will take you to the letter they submitted for the position, which includes the questionnaire that they needed to complete. The questions were formulated by the board. Names are in alphabetical order. The MCPSD website link also provides contact information for each of the candidates.

Carol Bellin
John Fletcher
Chris Jones
Joseph F. Knapp, Jr.
Theresa A. Martinosky
Shannon O’Brien
Patricia O’Keefe
Mike Ramsey
Christian M. Whalen
Shelly Wills

The successful applicant needs to hit the ground running – they are expected to be sworn in at the March 10th meeting. The interim position is only for 3 months – election for the seat will occur in May. I consider that experience is a plus..and I feel obligated to note that I do not know any of the candidates.

Given those considerations, several applicants stuck out to me:

Carol Bellin is a former school board member – and she’s been an active volunteer in the school district forever. Carol has also made numerous trips to the legislature testifying on behalf of Missoula schools.

John Fletcher is another active volunteer in the school district – having participated in various capacities since the late 70’s. John is also an active community member, having served on numerous boards, including the Public Library Board of Trustees.

Mike Ramsey, in his own words, would “openly and unapologetically (sic) represent a conservative perspective.” He continued, in answer to his main objectives: “To be willing to stand by any decision I make without any misgivings,” and “to listen carefully to all issued being discussed, and carefully consider the solution to my best ability.” I could go on – but really – just go read it yourself.

Patricia O’Keefe is a former teacher, who has also worked for the U.S. Department of Education.

Shannon O’Brien has held public office before, is a former educator, and has significant experience working in various community capacities.

When it comes down to it, Missoula voters have quite the list here – with all of the applicants obviously concerned what happens in our schools – and many of them very well qualified.

I urge all of you to read through the cover letters and questionnaire answers. Then I urge all of you to contact the sitting board members and let them know who you support. You might even consider clearing your calendars for Thursday evening and heading over to the Business Building Board Room at 915 South Avenue West and speaking in favor of a candidate.

By Montana state law, all public meetings must include an opportunity for public comment.

This is not an appointed board – all members of the school board are elected officials who are elected to represent you. Contacting them to tell them who you want to represent YOU on the board is a smart thing to do.

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