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Walnutport woman chosen to fill schol board vacancy

  • TERRY AHNER/TIMES NEWS  Natalie Green of Walnutport was chosen on Monday to fill a vacancy on the Northern Lehigh School Board.
    TERRY AHNER/TIMES NEWS Natalie Green of Walnutport was chosen on Monday to fill a vacancy on the Northern Lehigh School Board.
Published June 15. 2010 05:00PM

A Northampton County woman has been chosen to round out the Northern Lehigh School Board.

The board on a 7-1 vote Monday appointed Natalie Green to fill a vacant seat on the board. Director Gregory Williams was opposed.

Green, 49, of Walnutport, was among five candidates to apply for the seat. Others who applied were Ryan Van Norman of Washington Township, Richard Klocek of Washington Township, Robin Distler of Slatington, and Paige Yoder of Slatington.

Green's appointment came after four of the five candidates were nominated for the seat. Director Lori Geronikos nominated Klocek; Director Lauren Ganser nominated Distler; Williams nominated Van Norman; and Director Donna Kulp nominated Green.

After motions by Geronikos to nominate Klocek and Ganser to nominate Distler were defeated after the board deadlocked on a 4-4 vote, a motion by Williams to nominate Van Norman was defeated by a 5-3 vote.

Prior to the vote, each of the applicants were given three minutes to speak on why they wanted to become a school board member.

An instructor at the Bethlehem Area Vocational Technical School, Green said she has worked in the field of education for the past 20 years.

"I've been approached several times in the past to run for a seat on the school board," Green said. "I really feel we have a really good school district."

Green told the board that she hoped the tough economy wouldn't result in any educational programs being cut.

"We offer a lot of sports activities, electives, and I would hate to see any programs be cut," she said. "I just hope some of the programs we offer won't be sacrificed."

Before its vote, Williams urged the candidates not chosen for the seat to continue to follow the district.

"I'd like to thank everyone who applied for the position," Williams said. "Twice, I sat in your shoes before I was (appointed to the board)."

But, before the board could appoint Green to the post, it had to accept the resignation of former Director Donald Dengler, effective May 17, 2010.

Last month the board, on a 7-2 vote, approved a new four-year teachers' contract that called for a 3.5 percent salary increase in each of the next four years.

Dengler, who submitted his letter of resignation to the board on May 17, was one of two directors to vote against the new contract.

The four-year pact calls for an average increase of 2.4 percent, plus step increments. In addition, the contract includes increased teacher contributions to their health care based on a percentage of the monthly premium the district pays.

After the vote, board President Edward Hartman thanked the candidates for their interest in the seat.

"I'd like to thank all of you for applying," Hartman said. "It shows your interested in our schools, kids, and community."

Director Gary Fedorcha also lauded the applicants, and said he was "impressed with the quality of the candidates."

After the meeting, Green said she was pleased to be selected to the board.

"I'm happy to serve the community," Green said. "I'm happy to get involved."

Green will serve until December 2011. To seek re-election beyond that point, Green must have her name placed on the November ballot.

In a related matter, the board appointed Fedorcha as the district's representative to the Carbon Lehigh Intermediate Unit for which Dengler had served.

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