During a hastily called meeting Saturday, Nov. 12, members of the Wauwatosa school board discussed the process that the board will follow in the effort toward filling a vacancy left by the abrupt resignation of longtime board member Mary Jo Randall.
Based on that discussion, the school administration Monday, Nov. 14 posted a notice regarding the vacancy for the seat formerly held by Randall (No. 4) and are seeking applicants. The term for the candidate chosen by this process will run from the date that the school board makes an appointment and the appointee takes the oath of office until a successor is elected and takes office after the spring 2017 election.
Seats are numbered
Wauwatosa's school board is made up of seven members and each member's seat is represented by a number from one through seven. The number designations do not represent any particular part or region of the city and are used to distinguish which seat a member holds and, at election time, which seat is being contested. In other words, all seats are citywide. Four of the seven seats, including No. 4, will be up for election at the spring elections April 4, 2017.
Wauwatosa school board president Mike Meier said he believes in the importance of the school board and its role in the city. He said he hopes that there will be multiple people interested in serving on the board both for this position and in future elections.
"There are only seven board members, so every member is important to the culture of the school district," Meier said. "The policies of the school district answer to the people of Wauwatosa and to be one of those seven affects the policies of the district."
The posting laid out the process for filling seat No. 4 that will be followed by the board and the means for an interested party to submit an application.
Applicants have until 4 p.m. Nov. 28 to submit a written, signed notice of interest to Phil Ertl, school board secretary. Submissions need to be filed in person at the superintendent’s office in the Fisher Building, 12121 W. North Ave., anytime during the hours of 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Once application materials are submitted, the applicants are advised against any further communication with current board members.
The notice of interest may include introductory letter, resume, and/or letters of recommendation. Applicants are asked to submit seven copies of all materials in paper format and are told that all submitted material will be treated as non-confidential public records.
The following step will see the board hold a special meeting Dec. 5 to discuss the applicants and any procedural items that are deemed necessary. At that meeting, the board may select a candidate or set up additional steps in the selection based on the number of applicants.
The appointee will be chosen by a majority vote of the existing school board members either Dec. 5 or later if the board delays the decision.
After more than 11 years of service, the news of Randall's resignation was relayed to the school district in a Nov. 11 email. In the message, Randall said she was informing her fellow staff members of her resignation and that she was proud to have supported and represented them in her school board capacity. Randall did not disclose the reasons for her resignation to Now Publications.
"Although my work as a school board member is done, I will maintain and put to effective use the knowledge and wisdom I’ve gathered while working on behalf of you and the Wauwatosa School District that will help me in any future public education advocacy work I do," Randall said in the email.
Meier said that Randall's departure has left a void and is keenly aware that the board has "big shoes" to fill.