Al-Hamdani takes over as president for William Harris, who led the board the past two years. Both men, along with Karen Wick-Gagnet and Jocelyn Rhynard, were first elected to the board simultaneously two years ago and have two years remaining on their terms. Harris was the one to nominate Al-Hamdani for the role.
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In 2019, McManus and Taylor had complained of division on the board and feeling excluded by the majority. Al-Hamdani said he is excited about the “great new members” joining the board and expressed optimism about their ability to work together.
“I think we have to keep our focus on academic improvement,” Al-Hamdani said, pointing to improvement on the most recent state report card. “I think one of our biggest goals is restoring the trust people have in DPS and creating a sense of community that people feel comfortable with.”
Jocelyn Rhynard will remain the board’s vice president for a second year after being nominated by Smith. Rhynard thanked Harris for his dedication and hard work, serving as president of the board for his first two years as a member of the group.
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Major issues facing the board are how to increase stagnant student attendance, deciding an approach on repair/maintenance of school buildings and improving mental health services, among other topics.
The new board’s first regular business meeting is at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at DPS headquarters, 115 S. Ludlow St.