Judge selects Spinelli to fill vacant Lehighton seat
Melissa Wagner, right, Lehighton Area School District administrative assistant to the superintendent, swears in Rita Spinelli Tuesday morning to a two-year term on the Lehighton school board. Carbon County President Judge Roger Nanovic appointed Spinelli on Monday to fill a vacancy created when Gail Maholick won two seats in November’s general election. Spinelli’s term runs until December 2019. JARRAD HEDES/TIMES NEWS
Carbon County President Judge Roger Nanovic appointed Rita Spinelli, a former Lehighton Area School District director, to fill a vacant two-year term and round out the nine-member school board.
One of 11 candidates for the opening, created when Gail Maholick won both a four and a two-year term in November’s general election, Spinelli, a retired real estate agent, said Monday night she is eager to help the district begin to move forward.
“I was somewhat surprised, but very glad to find out,” Spinelli said of learning she received the appointment. “I’ve been an advocate for the district for a number of years and will continue to do that in this role. I’m going to do the best I possibly can.”
Before Spinelli’s appointment, Lehighton’s board consisted of four members who voted in favor of several building projects including construction of a new elementary center, and four directors who have stated their opposition to the new school.
“My goal is to help keep the district running,” Spinelli said. “When I came on the board in the 1990s, it was at the tail end of a time when the group was also very divided, so I have that experience to draw on.”
In front of Nanovic, Spinelli said she hopes to provide experience, while new board members are able to “learn, mature and get their act together.”
She said while some of the ideas from Lehighton’s newest board members are good, she is not comfortable with bashing other board members and administrators.
“Our children are watching,” Spinelli said. “We teach our children to respect authority and they see us do these kinds of things.”
Other candidates for the vacancy included Francis Flickinger, Richard D. Beltz, David Krause, Duane Eidem, Gloria Bowman, Nathan Foeller, Autumn Frey, Walter Zlomsowitch, Frank Tamburri and RoniSue Ahner.
Lehighton’s next meeting is scheduled for March 26.