Jeff Hahn swearing-in

New school board member Jeff Hahn is sworn in at Monday’s meeting.

The DeForest Area School Board started its new term on Monday night with orientation, swearing-in, and election of positions.

Board President Jan Berg will continue in that position for another term, with Gail Lovick as vice president, taking the place of Steve Tenpas.

The meeting began with a refresher and update for most, and for new member Jeff Hahn, an orientation, of an overview of district policies and legal obligations of board members. The presentation emphasized for members the official significance of much of their work, even in what may be casual exchanges, encouraging any discussion of board work be kept to district email and meetings, so as to ensure proper preservation in line with open records and open meeting laws.

Board members then prefaced elections for specific positions with discussion that of the pros and cons of alternating leadership: that boards may risk stagnation if members continue in long-term positions simply for the sake of continuity, but that on the other hand, positions often demand certain skills and that they would not want to lose an especially qualified person from a key position simply because of an arbitrary rotation.

Members then took turns stating general intents and interests before moving on to elections.

Vice President Steve Tenpas offered to step away from his position, saying that he did not feel he was irreplaceable as vice president and was willing to step aside to allow that room for other board members to shift positions.

Berg, on the other hand, said that she wished to continue as president, though with her current term ending in 2022, she was not certain of her plans on the board beyond then.

Tenpas offered support for Berg’s continued presidency, saying that she had “a quiet unique ability,” that has been valuable amid the high-profile issues and unusually exhausting meetings of the past year.

Jeff Miller accepted a competing nomination for board president. After a quick vote by hand-written ballot, Berg was announced the board president for another year, by a margin of 5-4.

To fill the position of vice president, left open by Tenpas’ exit, former treasurer Lovick was elected, again, by a margin of 5-4, over Brian Coker.

Through the evening the rest of the board positions were filled with Miller elected clerk, Keri Brunelle elected treasurer, Coker elected governance officer, with Hahn and Linda Leonhart selected as board ambassadors.

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