School board greets new faces

Posted: Thursday, October 23, 2008

Three new faces made their first appearance as elected members of the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Board of Education meeting held in Seward on Monday.

Though the agenda for the evening was light, Penny Vadla of Soldotna and Bill Holt of Kasilof, were acclimatizing to the new situation, while Joe Arness of Nikiski, found himself reacclimatizing to an old position.

Arness, who served on the board from 1989-2003, said, "It was very comfortable to just slip back into the roll. I did it for a long time so its not like it takes a big effort to put that glove back on again."

Arness did say that the board has grown, and the faces have changed, though he found everyone amiable.

Vadla agreed.

"It seems like it will be a nice group of people to work with," she said. "There's a steep learning curve, but I have some good teachers."

Veteran board members were happy to familiarize the new members Holt said.

"I was really encouraged, I felt everyone went out of their way to make us feel welcome," He said. "They tried to explain everything to us real well and made it clear we should ask all the questions we needed."

Vadla said she took the advice of former board member Dr. Nels Anderson of Soldotna, who, at the Oct. 9 meeting, laughed when he told the yet-to-be-elected members that they shouldn't say a thing their first two years, just watch and observe.

"I had anxieties which is normal I think. I don't know if people realize what a responsibility it is," Vadla said.

Board president Sammy Crawford said she was pleased with the new members. "The new board members were great, they're very eager and excited," she said.

The board will appoint a fourth new member to replace Bill Hatch of Kenai, who resigned on Oct. 15, citing a need to address family health concerns.

The application process for this seat closes on Monday. Applications may be downloaded and printed from the district's home page or at Applications also are available from the district office at 148 North Binkley in Soldotna.

The next board meeting will take place Nov. 3 at 7 p.m. in the borough building in Soldotna.

Dante Petri can be reached at

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