SCSD #2 appoints Tom Wilson to board
GREEN RIVER –Sweetwater County School District (SCSD) Board of Trustees No. 2 conducted three interviews for a vacancy on the board of trustees on Monday evening during which they selected Tom Wilson to fill the position.
The other two candidates included Darren Casey and Brandon Mandros. These three nominees were narrowed down from eight nominees for the board position. Wilson will complete the term of Robin Steiss, who announced his resignation in December. The mandate will last until the end of this year.
Steiss had a career in education before serving on the board. Wilson said he thinks the board is currently very eclectic, which he sees as a bonus for the board, but with Steiss’ departure they no longer have that education representation.
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“I think the one thing Robin has brought to the board is her experience in the classroom and in education in general,” Wilson said.
Wilson said he had more than 41 years of education experience, and 14 of those years were spent as an administrator. Working as the school district’s athletic director, he said he has experience in decision-making, leading, working on boards and working as a team to achieve goals.
The council asked the candidates what they think are the biggest challenges facing the district, which they all mentioned the COVID-19 pandemic. Both Casey and Mandros said the biggest priority in the face of the pandemic is looking after the mental and physical health of students and staff, and making sure they listen to state and CDC recommendations, as well as students, staff and parents.
Both Wilson and Casey said remote learning and technology is another challenge to work on. Wilson said with the pandemic that is ever-evolving and will continue to persist, the district needs plans to provide educational opportunities for students in case they need to stay out of school.
In addition to distance learning, Casey said technology is advancing and he thinks it will be a challenge to ensure technology benefits students and their academic progress.
According to the candidates, the other major challenge facing the district is education funding. Casey said finding funding sources and getting and keeping that money would be difficult. Wilson also pointed out that with recent additional funding through programs such as the American Rescue Plan Act, they will have to figure out what to do when that funding runs out.
“Historically, we’ve seen a tax on education and funding. It’s a huge piece, we have to be proactive in reaching out to senators and lawmakers,” Wilson said.
The council also asked the candidates what their role in the community should be as a council member. Mandros said he would like to be an advocate for parents and children, as well as the board. He said he wanted to understand the relationship between the council and the community and act as a facilitator for open communication.
“I want to bridge the gap and let everyone know that children and education are first and foremost for everyone,” Mandros said.
Casey said a council member should be actively engaged with the community and community members, and would like to get a sense of what they want with the district.
“I would like to know what they want the district to look and feel like, so I would go into the community with that in mind,” Casey said.
Wilson said his role as a board member in the community would be to be “visible and accessible.” He said going to school activities, from sporting events to music concerts to elementary Christmas programs, would be a way to make himself visible and available to the community.
“We have to be out there, we have to be a positive role model in the community,” Wilson said.
Wilson was sworn in by Superintendent Craig Barringer and will take office immediately.