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New school board member named

Michele Hawthorne, right, takes the oath of office after being appointed as the new school board member during Monday’s meeting. Hawthorne fills a seat vacated in November by Jeff Behymer, who moved from his zone. Shown with Hawthorne is Deanne Rowe, the board’s clerk. Photo / Terry Groover

Michele Hawthorne says she never expected to be involved in politics. In fact, she said it wasn’t even on her radar.
Still, the mother of two is the newest member of the Yukon School Board.
She was selected Monday during the board’s monthly meeting.
Hawthorne replaces Jeff Behymer, who resigned in November after moving from his zone.
Hawthorne was the lone applicant for the position, though Superintendent Dr. Jason Simeroth said several people did ask about it.
The school board interviewed Hawthorne for more than 30 minutes behind closed doors before voting to appoint her.
Hawthorne has one child who graduated from Yukon High School in 2017 and another who is an eighth-grader at Yukon Middle School.
She said she was encouraged to seek the position by Ranchwood Elementary School principal Kristin Lipe.
“I thought long and hard about it, talked with (executive director of elementary education) Lance Haggard and came up and talked with Dr. Simeroth. I thought I might bring a new idea or two,” she said.
Hawthorne said she isn’t entering the position with any type of agenda, other than to do what is best for the students.
“The biggest thing is to keep supporting our students. I don’t have any major goals yet. I want to get in here and see what is going on and what I can help out with,” she said.
Hawthorne has no previous political experience. She will serve until a special election can be held next February.
Behymer, who was originally appointed to his seat, was elected to a full, four-year term last year.
Hawthorne said she is nervous about her new role, but will lean on her counterparts on the board for help.
Her first vote was to approve the school board’s financial docket, which included encumbrances, the child nutrition report and the treasurer’s report.
The school board will likely get to repeat the process of appointing someone to the board in May.
Rex VanMeter, whose term is ending, chose not to seek another term on the school board.
Don Rowe, who had served on the board in another zone and was forced to resign when he moved, filed for the seat.
However, he had not lived in his new zone for the required six months and had to withdraw from the election.
Rowe has not indicated if he plans to apply for the seat once it becomes vacant.

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