Mt. Vernon Register-News

July 31, 2013

MVTHS Board to appoint new members

By TRAVIS MORSE travis.morse@register-news.com
The Register-News

---- — MT. VERNON – The Mt. Vernon Township High School Board of Education has agreed on two new board members to replace Jon Hawthorne and Greg Backes. They are Ben Mitchell and Bill Beck.

These selections won't become official until the board votes on them at tonight's special meeting at 6 p.m.

However, after holding a closed session Monday to interview potential candidates, the board has reached a consensus on who the new members will be, said MVTHS Board President Carl Miller.

“It was unanimous,” Miller said of the board's consensus. “We've got good quality people (who have) a lot of community service and experience in schools, so we're ready to go forward.”

Mitchell is a long-time attorney in Mt. Vernon who previously served on the District 80 Board of Education from the early 1970s to 1980.

After his board service, Mitchell represented District 80 as an attorney for roughly 20 years.

“I think a board has to act collectively and have an open communication,” Mitchell said. “(With my) prior experience, I'm able to contribute.”

Mitchell said he is a great supporter of the new school project at MVTHS and attended several of the recent meetings on that subject.

“I think they've got some challenges and I would like to be a part of solving them,” Mitchell said.

Beck is a local businessman who currently works with Durham School Services, a bus transportation company. He was unavailable for comment.

The MVTHS Board looked at a total of seven candidates for the two open seats.

Three of the candidates were new applicants while the other four had been considered previously for the vacancies left by Kim Alvis and Cynthia Davis. The board interviewed the three new applicants Monday night.

“We did discuss all the candidates,” said Board Vice President Karen Goodwine. “They were all excellent candidates.”

The sudden resignations of Hawthorne and Backes took place at an MVTHS Board meeting July 15. They cited ethical differences as their primary reason for stepping down.

In May, Davis resigned for family reasons and was replaced by Norma Fairchild. Then, in June, Alvis stepped down because of her new job. Alvis' replacement, Jeff Harpole, was officially sworn in last week.