A longtime St. Michael-Albertville School Board member dropped a bit of a bombshell during a Monday, Nov. 17 meeting at the boardroom.
Jeanne Holland, who has served on the board since 2000, most recently winning re-election in 2012, said she and her husband, Wright County Sheriff’s Office deputy Wes Holland, were moving just outside of the school district boundaries.
“We’re moving to a townhome in the Towne Lakes area, and we’re really excited. We just felt that the timing was right,” she said. The couple’s son had been seeking a new home in the area, and the Hollands live, currently, on some acreage west of Albertville, still inside the district’s limits. “It’ll be nice to downsize a bit.”
But, because Towne Lakes is outside of the district boundaries, Holland was forced to step aside.
“It’s been a great experience,” she said. “We have such a good board.”
STMA Superintendent James Behle said Holland’s leadership and experience have been vital to the board in this new age. One of her biggest contributions was her strong involvement and advocation for the Wright Technical Center in Buffalo, which allows STMA students a hands-on high school experience in fields such as nursing and skilled trades.
“She’s going to be missed,” he said. “During her 14 years, she’s helped guide the district through a tremendous time of change, including enrollment increases, new schools and changes in curriculum and instruction. She leaves the district in strong financial condition and ranking among the top in academic achievement in Minnesota.”
The remaining five members of the board then discussed how to fill out Holland’s term from Dec. 5, 2014 to Dec. 31, 2016. With Jennifer Peyerl joining the board in 2015, the panel declared its intent that Doug Birk, who narrowly missed re-election to the board in the general election held about two weeks ago, would be best suited to finish that term.
The board stated it will make the move official once Holland is done with her service early next month.
Birk, who lost to Peyerl and incumbents Gayle Weber and Jeff Lindquist in the election, would have to run again for election in 2016. But, Birk’s knowledge of school law and relationship with the state Legislature was seen as a true asset that was lost in the election earlier this month.
“Doug’s a great asset, so for him to get back on is a great thing for the board and for the people in our district. He’s going to push for that funding equity, which is what our schools need,” Holland said. “It’s a win-win.”