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updated: 5/1/2011 8:50 AM

New faces to join Gavin school board

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When the election season started in January, concerns rose after only one person filed to run for the Gavin Elementary District 37 school board.

It was worrisome, Superintendent John Ahlemeyer said, because three board members were stepping down, leaving two vacancies.

"But, we were fortunate when two people came forward and became write-in candidates," he said. "Sure, we could have interviewed and recruited people to the board, but it's better when people come forward and voluntarily want to be a board member."

Scott Hanson, David Zipp and Dawn Cacioppo are the newest additions to the District 37 board. They will be sworn in during a special meeting on Tuesday, May 3.

Zipp and Hanson join the board as write-in candidates, while Cacioppo filed the required paperwork and was on the ballot.

Zipp, an attorney living in Ingleside, said he doesn't have children in the district, but sees serving on the board was a way to give back to an important part of the community. This is his first term as an elected official.

"I think, by joining the board, I can add a voice of reason and it was a good opportunity to present a level head to Gavin School District 37," he said. "I will represent the average taxpayer in the district who wants to make sure students are still getting a good education but the people want to be represented."

Zipp added, "There is just something special about serving on a school board."

Hanson, Zipp and Cacioppo will replace outgoing board members Diane Hanson, Vice President Patsy Sales, and President Connie Thorsen.

Scott Hanson is the husband of outgoing board member Diane Hanson, Ahlemeyer said.

"We're very happy to have them join us," he said. "It's always nice to see new people get involved."

The three new board members will have numerous issues to face, Ahlemeyer said, but most important will be to continue giving students quality learning while also cutting costs.

"The biggest challenge will be deciding how to have effective quality learning for the kids while also being responsible to the taxpayer," he said. "It comes down to how do we effectively spend the money we do have."

The board will also update the district's strategic plan for the next five years, and keep an eye on structural issues at Gavin Central School, he added.

"They'll definitely have some tough decisions to make in the coming years, but I'm sure the new board will be up to the challenge," Ahlemeyer said.