Board of Education selects newest member

Rick Gehring is the St. Joseph School District Board of Education’s newest member.

In a unanimous vote Thursday evening, the St. Joseph School District Board of Education selected its newest member.

Rick Gehring will fill the seat recently vacated by Seth Wright. Gehring is a financial representative at Prudential.

The board decided on Gehring after each of the remaining four candidates for the position provided a two-minute opening statement and answered two questions that were asked of each of them.

Gehring said he was honored to receive the spot and added that he has been living in St. Joseph his whole life and has kids in the district.

“With my kids being involved in a lot of different sports and activities, I get to connect with a lot of different kids, and with my wife being a family involvement coordinator at Hosea, I see a lot of kids and I see how much she enjoys it and I see the teachers and how great they are in this community. I want to keep them here in St. Joseph,” Gehring said

Gehring said student involvement is key to keeping families in St. Joseph.

“We can’t take opportunities away from the kids,” Gehring said. “We have to keep coming up with fresh ideas to keep kids involved.”

Gehring was one of 10 people who expressed interest in filling the open board position. The board members narrowed that initial group to four people on Wednesday before making a final decision Thursday.

Tami Pasley, the board’s president, made a statement at the end of the meeting saying she was thankful for every candidate. Pasley said Gehring ended up being the choice because of the board wanting a variety of perspectives.

“We were looking for someone who would complement the board and who might bring a different perspective or a different skill set than what is already on the board,” she said.

Pasley acknowledged that the perspective of having kids in the district is something Gehring can provide.

Gehring was selected over three other candidates among the final four. The other candidates advancing to the final round were LaTonya Williams, David Foster and David Jordan.

One of the questions that every candidate was asked was about how they would respond to the public regarding unpopular decisions the board might have to make.

“Moving forward in the climate that we’re in with budget cuts and the fact that we know that our demographics are changing, we may be downsizing and losing students or lots of tough decisions ahead,” Pasley said. “It was just a good idea as to how a person would handle that because it is not easy to make a decision based on data that you know is good for kids and good for the future of St. Joseph, yet very unpopular with the community.”

Clayton Anderson can be reached at clayton.anderson@newspressnow.com. Follow him on twitter: @NPNowAnderson.