The Montezuma-Cortez school board has a new member.
Chris Flaherty, a parent at Lewis-Arriola Elementary School, has been appointed to represent District G, in light of Kara Suckla’s recent departure. He was sworn in at the board meeting Tuesday night at Lewis-Arriola.
Flaherty was seated with the board after his swearing-in, although he was permitted to abstain from voting on items for this first meeting.
District G covers a wide swath of land west of U.S. Highway 491 and north of County Road G. Suckla had been appointed to represent the district on the school board in late 2015, and was then reelected for a two-year term in November 2017.
But in the latest November election, she declined to seek reelection and no one else ran for the seat. The board declared a vacancy in November, and set Jan. 21 as the date for interviews to take place.
The board interviewed two candidates during executive sessions before and during the regular meeting, after which the board announced they had selected Flaherty for the job.
“Both of them were so strong,” board President Sherri Wright said. “We had a lot of problems trying to make a decision.”
Phyllis Lockhart, executive administrative assistant for the Montezuma-Cortez School District Re-1, administered the oath of office and confidentiality affidavit to Flaherty. His term expires November 2021.
Also on Tuesday night, Jim Parr, principal of Lewis-Arriola and Pleasant View elementaries, presented Suckla with an award for her service to their school and district.
“She was here before I was a teacher here, and her mark on this community and our students can’t be measured,” Parr said.
The board rotates the location of its meetings to campuses throughout the district. The next meeting is scheduled for Feb. 18 at Mesa Elementary School.