School board picks Hatch

Former teacher to replace Gilman

Posted: Thursday, October 27, 2005

Though it took four tries, the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Board of Education selected a candidate Wednesday for Seat 2 to represent the interests of Kenai.

Recently retired schoolteacher William Hatch was sworn in to fill the one-year seat, which became vacant when Margaret Gilman was elected to the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly.

During a special work session at noon Wednesday, school board members interviewed four candidates for the Kenai spot, including Howard Dorsey, Gwen Johnson and Jon Walters, in addition to Hatch.

A fifth candidate, Ross Kendall, removed himself from the running prior to the work session, according to board President Debra Mullins.

Board rules require a candidate to receive five votes in order to be elected.

On the first two votes, three ballots went to Hatch. On the third vote, he received four, and finally on the fourth vote, six of eight board members cast ballots for him.

During an introductory address, Hatch told board members he believed the board needed someone to "get on speed quickly" because the opening is for only one year.

"I'm your guy," he said.

Hatch said he has been a teacher in the borough school district for 14 years and has taught all grades from fourth through high school. He quipped that he also has had the opportunity to substitute in a kindergarten classroom.

In those years, he said, "I really got to like this institution."

One of the questions posed to the four candidates was how they would differentiate between the roles of the school district superintendent and the school board.

Hatch said he felt the board's role is to set aims for the school district and the superintendent's job is to "take care of the nuts and bolts."

When asked how he would deal with employee negotiations, Hatch told the board he would "try to create an atmosphere during negotiations that is not antagonistic."

Asked how he would assure having a trusting relationship with the schools' superintendent, Hatch said, in Dr. Donna Peterson, "We have a superintendent I respect."

School board member Dr. Nels Anderson asked the candidates if there were any philosophical principles the school board should use in making decisions.

Hatch said he would be guided by "what's best for the kids."

Board member Sunni Hilts pointed out the fact that the borough school district represents a "great variety of communities from the small rural ones, where the principal language spoken is Russian, to Native villages across the bay to the urban schools."

"How should we represent these diversities?" Hilts asked.

Hatch said he did not feel there was anything wrong with "having different policies for different schools."

In a closing statement, Hatch said, "I would like to continue to be part of this great school system."

After being voted in, Hatch took the oath of office administered by Sally Tachick, board administrative assistant.

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