Champaign school board names Bonnett president

Champaign school board names Bonnett president

CHAMPAIGN — The Champaign school board has three new members, and one is its new president.

The school board met Monday to swear in its newly elected members and to reorganize the board.

Board member Kristine Chalifoux swore in Laurie Bonnett, Lynn Stuckey and Scott MacAdam for four-year terms, and current board members Stig Lanesskog and Ileana Savely to two-year terms.

Bonnett was then elected the board's new president when four board members — including herself, Jamar Brown, Stuckey and Saveley — voted for her.

Former board President Stig Lanesskog was also nominated, and voted for himself, as did Chalifoux and MacAdam.

Brown is the board's new vice president, Saveley its new secretary and Stuckey its new parliamentarian.

After the meeting, Bonnett said she has had experience leading boards, and believes the board members collectively possess a lot of knowledge about the school district, as well as differing opinions.

As for herself, a new member running the board, "it's a lot to learn," she said.

"I think (Superintendent) Judy Wiegand is going to be a good teacher," she said.

"We have a lot of diversity of thought," Bonnett said, which she said will be critically important when making decisions on tough issues.

Bonnett said former board President Stig Lanesskog emailed the group asking if anyone wanted to pursue a leadership position on the board, and they should contact him, rather than email back to the entire group.

Bonnett said she found the email inappropriate, and didn't respond. Neither did she campaign to become the board's new president, she said.

"It was suggested to me that now would be a time for a new person to come into leadership," on the board, Bonnett said.

Lanesskog said he thought sending the email might allow him to let the group know about who was interested in what position, which would in turn, give current and incoming board members a chance to consider their options.

"I had asked them not to reply to all, so as to not violate elements of the Open Meetings Act," Lanesskog said, adding that he was trying to facilitate the reorganization process. Nothing like that had been done during his time on the board, he said.

"I thought it would be helpful to consider a slate beforehand, if people were willing to share that information ... to facilitate a smooth transition," he said.

Lanesskog said he believes the new board is a strong one.

"I am certain that Laurie will be an excellent president and that we have a lot of important challenges ahead of us," Lanesskog said. "I look forward to all of us working together as a team to address those challenges."

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