The Oregon school board last week appointed Sheron Baumgartner to fill the unexpired term of long-time board member Betty Carstensen, who passed away unexpectedly a few weeks ago.
Baumgartner, who previously served on the board from 1982 to 1993, was chosen from among a number of other candidates based on her experience and knowledge of the district.
“We had numerous options available to use,” said school board President Jeff Ziviski. The board wanted to choose someone who, like Carstensen, is from Jerusalem Township.
“Sheron is unique in that she meets our established criteria and is available to serve the district in a time of need,” said Ziviski.
Baumgartner was chosen from a list of approximately 12 people, including previous board members as well as members of the community, who had expressed an interest in filling the vacancy, said Ziviski.
“During the process of determining who to appoint to the seat, the board set several criteria that it wanted in a potential candidate,” said Ziviski.
The board preferred to appoint someone with prior board experience, he said.
“It felt that since the vacancy was for a short period of about three months and that there is normally a learning curve involved in understanding school operations and finances, it would be beneficial to have someone that had previous board experience,” he said.
“Additionally, we wanted to try to honor the will of the voters,” continued Ziviski. “With Betty, she was always the top vote getter when up for re-election, showing voters overwhelmingly desired to have Jerusalem Township represented on the board. Of the list of possible appointees, Sheron was the only one that met both of these criteria. The board did strongly consider several other names, and not all of them were prior board members. But Sheron was the one who we all felt could help the district the most in the short period that she would be on the board.”
Baumgartner is a graduate of Clay High School and Bowling Green State University. She worked at St. Charles Hospital in a supervisory capacity prior to her retirement there after 35 years of service. She is an active member of St. Luke’s Lutheran Church and has served as a member of the board of trustees. Baumgartner also served 10 years on the Oregon City Schools Foundation Board and is a former recipient of the Ohio School Boards Association (OSBA) Board Member of the Year Award for northwest Ohio.
Carstensen, whose term was expiring this year, was running for re-election at the time of her passing. Four instead of five candidates are now vying for three seats on the board in this November’s general election, including incumbents Zivisky and Dick Goble, and candidates Carol Molnar and Diana Gadus.
“The board did a great job in searching out a number of options to fill Betty’s seat,” said Superintendent Mike Zalar. “They exercised discretion and good judgment by acting decisively with the best interests of the district at heart. Sheron is highly qualified and has the support of Betty’s family.”
“This was a tough vacancy to fill,” added Ziviski, “because of what Betty brought to the district, the community and especially the children. We all know that no one could ever fill her shoes. Betty was that rare individual who put helping those who needed it above her own interests, and truly enjoyed her time in the schools interacting with children.”
Baumgartner said she was honored to finish Betty’s term on the board.
“I don’t consider myself a replacement for Betty. Betty can never be replaced,” said Baumgartner. “I’m just filling in for her until the election takes place this fall.”