Wallin joins school board

"Monday night, the Oak Harbor School Board of Directors selected longtime resident Gary Wallin to fill a vacant fifth position on the board.Wallin said his years of experience in local business and volunteer involvement will help bring more community insight to the board. He takes up the post previously held by board member Jim Slowik, who resigned in late November after serving seven years. Wallin will fill out the remaining year in Slowik's current four-year term and then have to run for election on his own.Wallin has lived in Oak Harbor for 42 years and is a 1967 graduate of Oak Harbor High School. He currently works at Burley Funeral Chapel and has been a parent volunteer in the schools since 1982.The board chose Wallin from among four applicants, including Northwest Dive News sales and marketing director Cynthia Kline, retired Navy aviation storekeeper Benaventura Manuel and retired Oak Harbor teacher Marjorie Scribner.It could have been any of the four and they would each have served the district well. We hope they all apply again, said board president Kathy Jones. In the end, however, she said Wallin's knowledge of school issues, his long service to the district and his community connections made him stand out.I'm excited about it, Wallin said following his selection. He acknowledged that the unpaid board post takes a lot of time and effort to do well. It also involves a lot of reading.I'm lucky in that sense because I love to read, he said.During the interview process Wallin said he admired the Oak Harbor School Board for helping run an efficient district without enough money. He said he strongly supports the district's upcoming maintenance-and-operations and hot lunch levies as well as a bond to replace Memorial Stadium.We need to convince the community that they need to support their schools through the levies. It's very necessary. It's not frosting on the cake, said Wallin.During Monday night's meeting, the board also selected Lois Ignacio to the position of student board member. Ignacio is a junior at Oak Harbor High School and is secretary of the class of 2002 . She also plays on the school's tennis team and has consistently made the honor roll.Student board members attend all meetings, submit regular reports of school activities and are encouraged to ask questions and debate issues. They do not vote.Ignacio succeeds current student board member Shelly Cook, who will be graduating this spring. Both Ignacio and Wallin will be officially sworn in as board members during the board's next regular meeting Jan 29. "

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