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H-F board inducts new members, selects new officers

The Homewood-Flossmoor District 233 school board welcomed newly elected board members Michelle Hoereth and Cynthia Turnquest to the board. Gerald Pauling was elected board president, and Debbie Berman was elected vice president/secretary.

During the virtual special meeting on Friday, April 30, Hoereth, Turnquest and re-elected board member Steve Anderson were administered the oath of office by Superintendent Von Mansfield as fellow board members Pamela Jackson, Nate Legardy, Pauling and Berman repeated their oaths.

Hoereth, who has been serving on the Flossmoor District 161 school board, said she was sad to leave that board, but “I am really excited to roll up my sleeves and help be a part of this team and help move the district forward.” 

She extended a thank you to the community, noting “there were over 3,000 people who believed in us and trusted us to represent every single student in this district. In order for us to do that, we have to work as a team, and I just say ‘thank you’ to the community for trusting me and Cynthia and Steve to be able to do that.”

Turnquest’s youngest son will graduate from H-F this month. She said that closes a door on her parental experience with H-F but now she’s “so excited to be opening a new door and I’m now able to give back to the district that has given so much to me and my family.”

 “I’m very honored, I should say, to look at this panel: a wonderful collection of people who have dedicated themselves to our children and our community,” Turnquest said. “I thank you all for embracing Michelle, and I thank the community for trusting us.”

Anderson thanked voters for trusting him with the school board member position for another four years. He has served 10 years on the Homewood District 153 board and the last four years on the H-F board. He said he recognizes that the volunteer efforts of all board members are a special service given on behalf of the community. 

When nominations were put forth for officers, Jackson nominated new board member Hoereth for the vice president/secretary position. The nomination did not receive a second. When the roll call was taken on Pauling for president and Berman for vice president/secretary, both nominations got unanimous support.

In accepting the presidency, Pauling said he noted the work and challenges of outgoing president Anderson who found himself working with a board where discussions were often strained. The board split 4-3 on many major issues.

“I don’t think we’re always going to agree and we shouldn’t, but we will have spirited discussions,” Pauling told his colleagues which he called a “talented group of people” that  they “should be able to have spirited debate, come out on the other side and do what’s best for the school and what’s best for the children and that hopefully lines up with what’s best for our community.”

Pauling said he will be asking members to meet for a board retreat and team building. He said he may call a Committee of the Whole meeting as well. The board officially canceled its July meeting.

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