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UPDATE: Crenshaw resigns from Marysville School Board
MARYSVILLE — One week after Marysville School Board member Michael Kundu resigned, Board President Sherri Crenshaw announced her resignation from the board effective July 19.
In a July 19 letter to her fellow board members, Crenshaw explained that she was resigning to return to teaching.
"Due to personal reasons, it is necessary for me to seek regular employment," Crenshaw wrote. "My desire is to return to my professional teaching background and preferably seek a teaching position in Marysville, a choice I am unable to pursue while serving on the board."
In an interview with The Marysville Globe, Crenshaw noted that she'd been interested in returning to teaching ever since she began her tenure on the board, and added that Kundu's resignation had nothing to do with her own.
"It's just a matter of timing," Crenshaw said. "I still have children in this district, so whether I wind up working here or not, I'll continue help the district however I can."
In her letter, Crenshaw praised the work of the board and district staff, especially toward closing the achievement gap.
"Much progress has been made as we have moved forward together and set the clear, concise goals for the district," Crenshaw wrote.
Marysville School District Superintendent Dr. Larry Nyland believes that Crenshaw's four-year tenure on the board has yielded positive results.
"She brought a perspective that was consistent with the board's mission statement of working to make every student proficient and successful," Nyland said. "Her leadership in striving to close the achievement gap will be her legacy."
Board Vice President Cindy Erickson and Board member Chris Nation both wished Crenshaw well in her future endeavors.
"She's a very thorough person who cares about education very much," Erickson said. "She believes in doing the right thing for all students, to allow them to graduate and be able to move on to higher education and become successful at whatever they choose to do."
Erickson becomes president in Crenshaw's stead. Erickson has served as board president before and expressed confidence about her ability to resume those duties.
Nation only served with Crenshaw for eight months, but he complimented her cordiality and maturity in discussing the district's options.
"Whatever our differences, she always stayed focused on what was best for the kids," Nation said. "She did a very good job of explaining things and helping me get up to speed."
Crenshaw herself stated that she'll miss "everything" about her service on the board, including the Monday evening meetings.
"I'll miss speaking for those students who don't have a voice," Crenshaw said. "I loved participating in the graduation ceremonies and being exposed to part of the educational process that hadn't been part of my experience. At the same time, I enjoyed being able to put pieces of my experience into play for the board's decisions. I have no regrets about having served."
Nyland noted that the remaining three board members are now faced with the task of not only filling two vacancies on the board, but also maintaining a quorum until they do.
"You need at least three board members at any meeting to have a quorum," Nyland said. "People might have to be a bit more flexible with their schedules, because with only three board members left, nobody can be absent. We're also looking at a number of decisions that will need to be unanimous, since they require what would be a majority of a five-member board to pass, and not just a majority of the board members who are left."
Erickson has already made sure that her Monday evenings will always be free for board meetings, which she started attending regularly long before she became a board member.
"If we need to hold special meetings as well, my work hours are pretty flexible," Erickson said.
Nation likewise anticipated no significant challenges to his own schedule.
"I made a commitment for four years, so I knew I'd have to dedicate this time to do it," Nation said. "This job requires you to be knowledgeable enough to weigh in, and if you're not there, then it makes it difficult for the other board members to conduct their business."
Nation acknowledged that the reduced number of board members reduces the diversity of perspectives in the board's decision-making process in turn, which is why he hopes to appoint new board members as soon as possible.
"The new members will be on a learning curve, like me, but they'll also bring new ideas," Nation said. "I'm positive about our future in the long run. We've made progress, even though it hasn't always been public. It'll take some time to turn this ship around, but if I didn't see positive results ahead, I wouldn't have stepped into this position in the first place."
Nation echoed Erickson's call for more community members to get involved with the district, through board meetings and committees, while Crenshaw urged any new members of the board to put the students first in their priorities.
"It's tempting to go off on tangents, but every decision involves all our students, so every decision needs to be about what's best for all of them," Crenshaw said.
"The board has already done what it's needed to do to end one school year and launch the next," Nyland said. "We'll need to work on team-building once we get our new board members, and I look forward to welcoming them."
Board member Darci Becker had not responded to requests for comment as of press time.