The Lake Shore Central School District Board of Education has a new board president and the board was all in agreement.
Jennifer Wackowski, a board member for past six years, fills the vacancy left by Cynthia Latimore, who served as president for three years.
“I’m thrilled,” Wackowski said. “I’m very excited. I’ve been a board member for the past six years and there’s really not much of a shift in our board with this move. We have a very functional board, one that works very well together. After Cynthia decided she couldn’t do it anymore, it ended up being me that stepped up to the plate. It’s a little bit more time consuming, but really other than that I’m just really excited for the opportunity.”
There was no controversy surrounding this move as Latimore left the position for personal reasons.
“It’s mainly just due to personal things,” Latimore said. “It’s a huge commitment when you’re the board president; there are a lot of events you need to be at and things with the district, so I was very grateful when Jennifer stepped up after thinking things through. But with three teenagers at home, I feel I need to be around home a little bit more nowadays, so it was honestly just more of a personal decision than anything else.”
The transition was also a smooth one for Wackowski, who reiterated the move to president was not a monumental shift or power move.
“We had talked about it before, if anyone else had any interest,” she said, “and really no one else had any interest in taking the position. I had hoped possibly I could slide in and serve as vice president for a time and then move into the presidency, but it just didn’t work out like that. I work locally, I have a very flexible schedule and it just works as far as me being able to get to school for additional meetings during the day or anything that might come up, I’m reachable and I’m available. The rest of the board thought I spoke well in public, and it seems they have confidence in me. I think I’ll do alright. There was no controversy. I guess we’re a boring board in that way because we get along so well together. There was no overturning in power or anything like that; no one got thrown out of the meeting.”
Though the change to president really is not all that much of a chance according to Wackowsk, there is an aspect of her new role she is a bit nervous about.
“The board president really doesn’t have any more power than any other board member,” she said. “There may be an additional meeting a month here and there, but I’m not really sure. I would be responsible to sign any contracts, but really the main new duty is running the meetings. I am nervous about misspeaking when people are upset or angry. I like to think and process things before I speak, so hopefully if people are angry or upset, I respond well. That’s really all I’m nervous about.”
Wackowski’s presidential term will run through July 2013.
“I was very pleased honestly, and I think she’ll do a fantastic job running things,” Latimore said. “I believe she will represent us really well, and I support her 100 percent.”
As far as advice for Wackowski as she embarks on her new role, Latimore had a few words of wisdom to share.
“Just keep an open mind,” she said, “and just try to be fair to everyone. Keep the meetings moving while giving everyone the ample time that they need, and I think that’s one of the most important parts. Always try to promote conversation and get people talking, while being able to get clarification so everyone knows what everyone else is saying.”