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Chester County Press

Kennett School Board seeks to fill new vacancy

09/19/2021 11:52PM ● By Steven Hoffman

Erstwhile Kennett School Board president Joe Meola, who announced in June that he and his family were moving to Florida, officially submitted his resignation at the board’s meeting on Sept. 13. In a sentimental goodbye, the board accepted the resignation unanimously.

Following expressions of appreciation for each other by Meola and the board, the members elected vice president Vicki Gehrt as the new president.

David Kronenberg, a board representative from Region B (New Garden), was elected vice president.

Gehrt took the opportunity to present Meola with the gift of an engraved bell. Meola, for his part, said how much it meant to him to be part of the Kennett Consolidated School District community and board.

“There’s something special about Kennett,” he said. “There’s so much respect the people in the community and district provide each other…..beautiful, wonderful people. I’ll always remember the incredible time I had here.”

Meola was elected to the board from Region 2 (New Garden) in 2012 to fill the unexpired term that was created by the departure of longtime school board member Shirley Annand. Meola was appointed president in December 2017.

The school district issued this announcement regarding Meola’s replacement:

“Directors of the Kennett Consolidated School District will appoint a qualified resident of Region B (New Garden Township) to fill the Board vacancy caused by the resignation of Joseph Meola. The person appointed will serve until December 4, 2023.

“The Board will interview applicants at a public meeting on Tuesday, October 5, 2021, at 6:00 p.m. and will make the appointment at the Regular meeting on Monday, October 11, 2021, beginning at 7:00 p.m. The Finance Committee meeting originally scheduled for Monday, October 4, will now take place on October 5 following the interviews. 

“Application materials may be obtained by telephoning Cassie Yang at 610-444-6602 or by email at [email protected].

“Completed applications must be received in the District Office by 12:00 noon on Wednesday, September 29, 2021. Applications can be delivered directly to the District Office or mailed to: Superintendent’s Office
Kennett Consolidated School District
300 East South Street
Kennett Square, PA 19348”

Ordinarily, when the board replaces a member for an unexpired term, that person is required to run for the seat in the next municipal election. This regulation applies when that replacement is selected more than 60 days before the next election. In the case of Meola’s departure, he announced in June that he would be moving to Florida, but he did not submit his resignation until September’s meeting – 56 days before the municipal election.

With that procedure in place, the person the board chooses to replace Meola will remain on the board until the 2023 election.

The Kennett School Board has had two other resignations since the last school board election was held. In Region A (Kennett Square) Maribel Garcia resigned in May, and the board selected Lenda Carrillo to replace her. In Region A as well, Ryan Bowers resigned in June, and the board selected Heidi Sweetman to replace him.

Both Carrillo and Sweetman will be on the November ballot. Carrillo has been placed on the ballot as a Democrat, and Sweetman placed as a Republican.

Also running for one of the two open seats is Democrat Ethan Cramer.

Gehrt, whom the board elected on Sept. 13 to replace Meola as president, will hold that position until the December reorganization meeting. Likewise, Kronenberg, who was elected vice president to fill the opening caused by Gehrt’s ascendancy to president, will hold that position until the December reorganization meeting. At that point, officers for the following term will be elected.

In other business, Director of Facilities and Construction George Wolhafe announced that the high school steps project will be completed at the end of October. The renovations at Mary D. Lang are scheduled for completion in October as well. Also, the board members have narrowed down their choice of architects to two for the upcoming reconstructions of Greenwood and New Garden elementary schools

Meola at the beginning of the meeting announced that people who want to submit questions or have comments for the board must be there at the meeting in person. They must also identify themselves and the subject of their comments ahead of time and at the meeting. They must be residents and taxpayers of the school district and, if appropriate, identify their affiliation.