School board works to fill vacancy


Lance Weinhardt, school board treasurer, resigned in late June. The board is currently in the process of appointing a new member to fill the vacancy. 

“It’s with regret that, after struggling with this decision, that due to family health issues, I submit my resignation from the Shorewood School District Board of Education,” Weinhardt stated in a letter read during a school board meeting on June 25th. “It’s been an honor to serve with you and to serve the Shorewood community for the past 14 months.”

Emily Berry, board member, says that Weinhardt’s priority was always the students and families in the district. 

“As a board member, he was really thoughtful, and I think always thinking about students, which we all try to do,” Berry said. “He’s not always the loudest voice in the room, but when he did speak up, he thought about what he was going to say and was really student-focused.”

As a board member, he was really thoughtful, and I think always thinking about students, which we all try to do,

— Emily Berry, school board member

The school board will appoint a member at large who will serve through April of 2020. The seat will then be filled by election, along with seats currently held by Paru Shah, president, and Pablo Muirhead, clerk. Though members are usually elected, it is not unheard of to appoint members in special circumstances.  

“I actually came on the board when somebody resigned,” Shah said. “Joanne Lipo Zovic came on the board when Rob Reinhoffer resigned. So, it’s happened before, and the village [board] has had some sort of similar events where they’ve had to have an appointment process.”

Current members said that they will be looking for a candidate who brings a new perspective to the board.

“[We’re] thinking through, ‘Well, what does it mean to have somebody with kind of a different background?’” Shah said. 

Berry says that the board is also looking for someone who will work with them. 

“Sort of counter-intuitively, we want someone who can take that diverse perspective but then also compromise and reach consensus,” she said.

The board has received seven applications for the position.

“I’m really, really happy that we have so many strong candidates to choose from,” Berry said. “We were hoping that we’d have a lot of people to choose from, and we were really happy that we did get that.”

The new members will be brought up to speed on numerous district projects and initiatives, such as the $65 million facilities referendum that was passed in April. 

“Now that we’re past the piece of passing the referendum, this following year is a lot of planning for what the actual nitty gritty will look like in this school. So a lot of that [was] decided by the referendum,” Shah said. “We always do some onboarding. I would plan a retreat for all five of us in September, just to get this person up to speed.” 

Berry, who was elected in the same election as the referendum, says she knows what it is like to be new to the board, and understands that the new member may be overwhelmed.

“It’s a bit of a learning curve, I can say, as the next most recent person,” Berry said. “It may be in reality that we slow down some stuff to give that person time to catch their breath and learn what’s going on. I think for some projects we don’t really have that luxury of slowing down, with some of the facilities work, with some of the work that faculty has asked us to do. Where we do, we’ll try to give that person space and time to learn the job, but partly you learn by doing it, so the more meetings you’re in and the more you dig into the policy, the better you understand.”

UPDATE: August 27, 2019

The seven applicants were interviewed August 26. Board members will now have to each choose a top choice (three points), a second choice (two points) and a third choice (one point). The applicant with the most points will then be voted on by the board.