Falconer School Board Fills Vacancy

FALCONER — Tracy Schrader will soon be the interim-board member the Falconer Central School District for the remainder of the school year filling an empty position that was vacated early November.

Schrader will be officially appointed at the Dec. 18 regular meeting when her interim term will officially begin, according to Superintendent Stephen Penhollow.

The Falconer Board of Education held a meeting Tuesday where current members interviewed three candidates in open session. The three candidates included Schrader, Laurie Reynolds and Marcella Centi.

Penhollow said the three candidates “didn’t make the board’s decision easy” following the interviews.

The board held an executive session following the interviews to discuss a personnel matter.

On Wednesday, Penhollow informed The Post-Journal of the board’s intent to name Schrader as the interim-board member after what he described as a “lengthy discussion” to make a “difficult” decision.

All candidates touted a background in education as giving them needed experience to represent a school district. All three candidates indicated that they would run for one of three open board member positions in May.

“The board (members) did come to a final conclusion and they have selected Tracy Schrader to fill the vacated seat,” Penhollow said.

Schrader is a Southwestern Central School special education teacher and has taught there for 22 years. She cited her educational background at Southwestern as reasons why she would be an ideal person to fill the vacancy during her interview Tuesday. She said her interest in becoming a board member carried no agenda as she supports administration, teacher and board of education.

Schrader is a Falconer alumni and her husband works as a teacher in the district. The two have children who attend FCS.

When asked about her ability to separate herself from any possible conflicts of interest, Schrader pointed to her work on various committees in the Southwestern district when she had to remain unbiased. She indicated she would be comfortable with abstaining from potential board votes if a conflict arose.

Schrader’s impending appointment stems from the Nov. 6 meeting where the 7-member board approved a resolution that vacated Jennifer Olsen’s position. Board president Todd Beckerink read a resolution citing absences and public statements indicating her intention to resign, the board stated it was operating within state and board law to vacate her position. School boards are given 90 days to fill a position from the date it was vacated. During that meeting, Superintendent Stephen Penhollow told the board it could either appoint a candidate, with varying options as to who that could be, or hold a special election within the given 90 days.

At the Nov. 21 meeting, the board agreed to move forward with the appointment option and hold open session interviews with possible candidates. Beckerink indicated that he wanted the situation to be resolved as quickly as possible. A loose timeline was drafted at the second November meeting designating the Tuesday’s meeting for the open session interviews and the meeting on Dec. 18 meeting set aside for the new board member’s appointment.

Schrader’s interim term will be effective following her oath of office.