By Eliza Hallabeck
The Board of Education unanimously appointed Kathy Hamilton, formerly Kathy Fetchick, to fill a vacant seat, left open by board Secretary Cody McCubbin, at a special meeting on Wednesday, July 10.
Ms Hamilton, who has served on the Legislative Council since September 2010, previously served as the Board of Education’s vice chair.
Prior to Mr McCubbin announcing at the school board’s May 21 meeting that he would vacate his seat due to a relocation to London, Ms Hamilton said she had already been thinking about returning to the school board.
After the events of 12/14, Ms Hamilton said she “knew there would be so much more needed to be done than is normally done by our board.”
When the vacancy was announced on July 3, Board of Education Chair Debbie Leidlein set in motion the process to appoint someone to fill it. Ms Leidlein explained she contacted the Republican Town Committee (RTC), of which Mr McCubbin was a member, and the committee responded that it had already been vetting people for the position. It also offered Ms Hamilton as a candidate. Ms Hamilton was the only candidate offered by the RTC, according to Ms Leidlein.
“I really wanted to jump in and help,” Ms Hamilton told school board members Wednesday.
While Board of Education member Keith Alexander pointed out that candidate interviews for appointment to the school board are normally done during nonpublic meetings, Ms Hamilton said she requested that her interview be open to the public.
Ms Hamilton said she had already spoken with members of the Legislative Council, including Legislative Council Chair Jeff Capeci, and if appointed to fill the vacant seat on the school board she would officially resign from her post on the council. Ms Hamilton said Mr Capeci and the other members of the council she spoke with supported her choice.
“I feel like I need to be here… I’m glad they agree,” said Ms Hamilton.
School board member Richard Gaines voiced discomfort that the RTC had only offered one candidate for the school board to vet, and that the school board had not looked for potential candidates elsewhere. While he said he felt Ms Hamilton would do a fine job, he said he was unsure whether there was a democratic process in finding Mr McCubbin’s replacement.
Mr Gaines also asked Ms Hamilton how she would respond to members of the public who might question how she had once left her seat on the school board for the Legislative Council, and is now leaving her seat on the council for the school board.
Ms Hamilton said she wants to serve to the best capacity, and also said she would be willing to help in any areas the school board should need her.
“I’ve never left education,” Ms Hamilton said. “Even on the council I was on the education part of it.”
Part of why she left the school board in 2010, she said, was to give the school board a voice on the Legislative Council.
Following deliberations, the school board voted unanimously to accept Ms Hamilton to fill Mr McCubbin’s vacated seat.
Ms Hamilton will have to run on the ballot in November to continue on the school board. There are two years left to Mr McCubbin’s four-year term on the board.