Mt. Vernon Register-News

August 1, 2013

Board swears in new members

Travis Morse/Register-News


MT. VERNON – To local businessman Bill Beck, serving on the Mt. Vernon Township High School Board of Education is an important way to give back to the community.

Beck said his family has a long history of community service. His grandfather was a city councilman and his father served on the local zoning board.

Also, four generations of the Beck family have attended MVTHS, which makes his new role on that board very fitting, he said.

My hope is to be a contributing part to the board and to move the school forward, to leave it in better shape than it was when I got here,” Beck said. “It's just part of giving back.”

Beck and local attorney Ben Mitchell were both sworn in as new MVTHS board members at a special meeting Wednesday night. Their appointments received unanimous approval from the board. They are replacing Greg Backes and Jon Hawthorne, who both resigned July 15.

Currently, Beck is the assistant to the regional vice president at Durham School Services, a bus transportation company.

He has also served on the boards governing the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce, the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, and the National School Transportation Association, among other groups.

In addition to being an attorney, Mitchell has also served on the District 80 Board of Education. He said Wednesday he is approaching his new role on the MVTHS Board with a “totally positive attitude.”

I'm impressed with the board members and I look forward to working with them,” Mitchell said. “I think the collective decisions are what's important.”

The board has gone through a tumultuous period since May, dealing with the resignations of Backes, Hawthorne, Kim Alvis, and Cynthia Davis.

At this point, however, all the board's vacancies have been filled and the district's goal is to keep making progress, said Superintendent Michael Smith.

The new members have filled the voids left on the board very well,” Smith said. “All bring varied and very strong skills to the table and we're just very excited that these individuals have stepped up and are willing to serve on the board.”

Also on Wednesday, the board approved the resignations of English teacher Brandon Martin and math teacher Emily Chamness.

Furthermore, two new hires were approved – English teacher Boyd Ballard and special education instructional aide Abby Jo Morgan.