Health care executive picked to fill Kettering school board vacancy

Chrissie Richards also serves on the board of the school district’s new foundation

The Kettering school district has picked a candidate to fill the vacancy on its five-member board of education.

Chrissie Richards was chosen from among five candidates the board interviewed this week to fill the seat formerly occupied by longtime member Lori Parks, who stepped down effective Dec. 31 with a year remaining in her term.

Richards, a Kettering Health executive, was selected over Susan Bodary, Sam Hurwitz, Bryan Suddith and Steve White, the board announced Friday.

Richards “stood out as someone with a demonstrated history of dedication to our district and an understanding of and appreciation for our vital mission,” Kettering board President Toby Henderson said in the announcement.

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“Ms. Richards will bring her strong business acumen to the board of education, and we are excited about the contributions she will make,” he added. “We are confident she will be a tremendous addition to the board.”

Richards serves as executive director of culinary and nutrition care for Kettering Health, where she has worked since 2004.

In late 2020, she was among four candidates interviewed to fill the previous vacancy created by the departure of longtime member Julie Gilmore. Current board Vice President Mark Martin was picked to succeed Gilmore.

“I am extremely excited and feel very honored to have the opportunity to serve on the Kettering board of education,” Richards said in the announcement. “I take great pride in our city and wonderful school district and look forward to serving the community in this soon-to-be-appointed role.”

Her appointment to the school board is expected to be approved Tuesday, according to the district.

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Richards has experience in strategic planning, program and business development, market research, management, and customer service, according to her letter of interest.

A graduate of Miami University and Indiana Wesleyan, Richards also serves on the board of directors of the new Kettering City Schools Forward Foundation and previously served on the Woodhaven Swim and Tennis Club board of directors.

Parks, a 19-year board member, retired from the board to focus on professional work opportunities, according to her Dec. 29 letter.

Parks was elected to five straight four-year terms starting in 2003, facing opposition in two races, according to Montgomery County Board of Elections records.

The board previously said Parks’ successor will complete the remaining year of the term, with the expectation that they will run for election for a full four-year term in November 2023.

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