By Nicole Minier
CHURUBUSCO — Three people are vying for an open seat on the school board for Smith-Green schools.
Applicants were interviewed by the board Monday night in a special meeting. Those who seek the position are Sharon Bertrand, Jeremy Hart and Brenda Saggars.
The spot opened up when former board member Carey Jacquay resigned at last month’s board meeting. She said she had “unforeseen circumstances” and could no longer devote time to the board.
Bertrand is a retired teacher of 49 years. She spent much of her career with Fort Wayne Community Schools. She was a substitute teacher for SGCS until November 2016. She said now that she’s fully retired, she would have time to devote to the board.
Bertrand said she likes that grades K-12 are all in the same building. She believes the biggest concern for the school district is finances.
Hart is the town superintendent, where he also is on the strategic planning committee.
“I really just want to be a part of all the students’ lives at Smith-Green schools,” Hart said. “I’ve done a lot in this community. This is one thing I have not done.”
Hart said he believes Superintendent Galen Mast has been a strength for the district, and he hopes the board can find a similar replacement for him.
Mast recently took the job as superintendent at West Noble. He begins this summer.
Hart says he believes the district should focus on raising enrollment.
Saggars is a retired teacher of 44 years in a variety of roles. She said she worked at a daycare where there were financial troubles, and she had to help balance the budget.
“I’ve worked in lots of different situations over the years,” Saggars said. “Right now we’re (Smith-Green) in a bind with funding. I think I can help on that situation.”
Saggars also serves on the town’s plan commission.
She said the biggest strength of SGCS is the closeness of the people inside the building.
“It’s a close-knit family,” Saggars said. “Everyone is here to help anyone who needs help. We are like family.”
Saggars said her main concern for the district is finding a quality superintendent and retaining teachers.
Saggars works as a substitute teacher through a company that contracts with Smith-Green.
It is unclear if she would be able to be a substitute teacher and serve on the board at the same time. Board President Dean Geiger said he would find out.
Each board member took notes on the candidates and will submit their choice to Geiger. Geiger will tally the votes, and the person who was most favored will be the selected board member, who will be sworn in at the school board meeting Monday at 7 p.m. at the administration office.