New School Board President Appointed

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The Grand Ledge School Board appointed a new president to the board and elected a new president on Jan. 9. Their action was prompted due the unexpected resignation of their former president James Shell on Jan. 26.

The board met Jan. 9 to announce that James Shell had resigned from the position of president two days after misdemeanor firearm charges were filed against him.

Moments after thanking Mr. Shell for his time and dedication to the board, they followed their Board Governance Policy and appointed vice president, Linda Wacyk, as the new president.

Jen Rogers of the Michigan Association of School Boards said it is different for each school when a board president resigns.

“Typically a board may appoint the vice president to fill the president vacancy, but it all depends on the boards’ bylaws,” Rogers said. “It isn’t the same for every board because each board has local control of their decisions and bylaws.”

“A resignation may cause some transition issues with roles and responsibilities, but it certainly doesn’t have to be a big disruption to the board or their work on behalf of the district and students.”

Kim Mulvenna, Grand Ledge School Board trustee, said there have not been any disruptions with the new president, because their meetings have stayed consistent.

“I have been on the board for 11 years and there has only been one other president who has resigned; but because the president’s main responsibility is to set the agenda and run the meeting, it doesn’t change much,” Mulvenna said. “As far as direction the district goes in, that will all stay the same with any president.”

Yet Mulvenna said there are different types of presidents. She said the board deals with how effectively they can run a meeting when it gets disruptive and how respectfully they handle it.

“There are styles in president; everyone has their own style,” Mulvenna said. “Mr. Shell is an assistant state attorney general and a very intelligent man who brought a lot of legal experience, he just had a different way of running things. Where as Ms. Wacyk has been involved in education for many years…she’s also the Michigan Association of Administrators communications director so she is well spoken, well written, and she brings those talents to the school district.”

Sara Clark Pierson, according to the Jan. 9 minutes, was unanimously nominated to fill the vice president position at that time.

Although she just became vice president,  Pierson said she hopes to see someone take her vice president position at the next elections.

“I like to revolve the officer positions to give people a chance to have a little more contact with the superintendent and to running a meeting, which takes a real skill,” Pierson said. “If you revolve the officers, people feel there is more communication, and in fact there is.”

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