Northville School Board Member Resigns, 2 Retire
School board president Joan Wadsworth resigned, because she will relocate to Ireland.
At the Tuesday night school board meeting, board president Joan Wadsworth announced her resignation, which is effective in January when a replacement will be announced.
She told the room at Winchester Elementary School that she will be moving to Ireland soon, where her husband has accepted a new job. And the meeting was also the final one for board members Marilyn Price and Libby Smith.
After 18 years on the board, Wadsworth will move to Dublin, Ireland where her husband has accepted a job with the Irish Competition Authority.
"So I will sadly resign my position before I finish it," Wadsworth said. Her term ends in December 2012.
The board approved at the meeting a form for potential applicants to fill out by Jan. 6, 2012. The form calls for information about residency, citizenship and other biographical details. You must reside in the school district, which includes Northville city and township as well as part of the city of Novi. The form also includes a series of questions about disclosure of a conflict of interest, "why are you interested in serving on the Board of Education?" and "What do you hope to accomplish as a member of the Board of Education?" It also asks for a summary of civic activities and employment background.
Wadsworth will stay on board until a replacement is named. Superintendent Mary Kay Gallagher outlined the process for naming a successor. Applications are due by Jan. 6 and interviews will be held between Jan. 10-19. The board has a meeting scheduled on Jan. 24 at Silver Springs Elementary School, at which time her replacement will be named.
The newly appointed person will serve through December 2012. Her successor's seat will be up for election in November 2012, which is when Wadsworth would have been up for re-election.
Wadsworth's husband, Stephen Calkins, accepted a two-and-a-half year position with the Irish Competition Authority. They plan to return to Northville at the end of his term, she said.
In 2010, Wadsworth ran as a Democrat for state representative and was defeated by Rep. Kurt Heise (R-Plymouth). She is active in volunteering for organizations like Bridgepointe, which seeks to connect suburban and inner-city children.
During her tenure as president, she has led the board through difficult votes and collective bargaining agreements. In the past year alone, the board has laid off more than 50 staff and teachers, though some were called back, privatized transportation and custodial services and reached an agreement with the teachers' union following tumultuous negotiations. She was also part of the board that selected Mary Kay Gallagher as a replacement for long-time superintendent Leonard Rezmierski.
Smith and Price to be replaced by Anita Bartschat and Scott Craig
Outgoing school board members Libby Smith and Marilyn Price were honored Tuesday for their service to the board. Both have served eight and a half years.
On hand to recognize the two were state Sen. Patrick Colbeck (R-Canton) and Rep. Heise.
"It's been an honor serving the district my husband and I graduated from," Smith said. "There have been very, very difficult times. There have been heartbreaking meetings."
She added, "But there have been wonderful moments we will take with us."
Smith recalled an instance when someone once told her that she did not appear passionate about the job, a moment she told the crowd hurt her feelings and caused her to reflect on the position.
"No one would serve in this volunteer position...and not have passion," she said.
Both she and Price started the job when their children were very young, Wadsworth said.
Price said her time on the board "has been a rewarding and enriching experience."
She added, "The relationships we have developed have been powerful and significant." Price noted that there were tough times on the board.
"We'll miss the people. We will not miss the issues and dealing with them," she joked.
Several members of the board and Gallagher thanked the two for their service to the district.
"It has been a pleasure to serve with you, even when the decisions have been rotten," Wadsworth said. "Marilyn and Libby have been excellent colleagues...I can't recall a meeting when either one of them did not come prepared."