UPDATE @ 9:59 p.m.: The new face on the governing board of Hamilton Schools isn't a new face to the community.
Long-time Butler County United Way President and CEO Margaret Baker was unanimously voted Thursday evening to fill the Hamilton Board of Education’s open seat, vacated by the death of member Tom Alf.
MORE: Beloved Hamilton school board member and long-time educator Tom Alf given heart-felt farewell at funeral
Baker, a former city civil service commission and local bank vice president, has lived in the Butler County city for more than four decades.
It’s the first time the 61-year-old Baker has held a publicly elected office. She said it was her deep roots and “passion” for Hamilton that drove her to interview for the board appointment.
“I had been thinking about the school board for quite a while … I’ve had a banking background for 30 years and then for the last six years I’ve been with the United Way and we are very passionate about education,” said Baker, who was raised in Oxford. She’s a graduate of Talawanda Schools and Miami University.
“I love this community and I’m honored they (board members) gave me the opportunity and I’m really excited about what we can do,” she said.
Baker was senior vice president for commercial lending for 17 years at First Financial Bank in Hamilton.
Hamilton school board member Scott Kruger said he was pleased to see Baker join the board.
“I’m so happy she decided to apply for the position,” said Kruger.
By this evening, the governing board of Hamilton Schools is expected to appoint a new member as it oversees the operation of the 10,000-student district.
Starting late afternoon the school board will begin interviewing candidates in private, executive sessions -- as allowed under Ohio law -- to fill the seat of Tom Alf, who died unexpectedly last month.
By the 7 p.m. scheduled start of the board's regular public meeting, which is being held in the auditorium at Garfield Middle School at 250 North Fair Ave., the appointee should be present.
Board members will then vote on the appointee and the new member will be sworn in and join his or her four new colleagues.
Alf, who died Nov. 13, was re-elected Nov. 5 to a second term.
Alf, on the ballot with fellow school board candidate Shaquila Mathews for two open seats, was the top vote-getter, earning with 4,785. Mathews won 3,765 votes.
Hamilton school officials have said in November 2021, the appointed seat will be up for election and winner of that election will be granted a 2-year term starting in January 2022 until December 2023.
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