Van Buren appoints school board member

KEOSAUQUA – The Van Buren County Community School District Board of Directors approved appointing Richard Breckenridge as a board member, during its regular meeting May 8.

He replaces Andrew Lydolph, who resigned last month.

The board heard a presentation from four people interested in the position, Tracy Hudson, Melissa Mahon, Rod Livesay and Breckenridge.

A fifth candidate, Erica Lydolph, asked to have her name withdrawn and asked that the board support Breckenridge.

Breckenridge served 12 years on the Van Buren CSD school board and was its president for nine of those years. He said he served on a committee to interview superintendent candidates and also a new principal. He said he had been part of some difficult decisions, that were “necessary for viability” of the district.

Breckenridge said his goals would be the education of the students and having the new district be financially responsible. He said he appreciated the service of Superintendent Pam Ewell, who resigned to become superintendent at Benton Community.

Livesay cited his connection to the school district, as his children and grandchildren are enrolled and live in the Van Buren County CSD. He emphasized his experience “building teams.”

Mahon focused on educational achievement and her efforts for the reorganization and she supported building “respectful relations between the board, administration and staff.”

Board member Cody Warth nominated Tracy Hudson. She was a former Harmony CSD board member and supported the merger of Van Buren and Harmony. “There are a lot of great things happening and you have a great opportunity for the people and students of this district.”

Board members then balloted by paper, writing their name and the candidate of their choice. The winning candidate had to have a majority of the board (four).

Pam Morrissey, school business official, counted the ballots and presented them to vice president William Cline. Breckenridge received four of the six votes.

The public can petition the board to hold a special election. Ewell said a tentative date of June 19 would be the earliest it could occur.

If there is no special election called, Breckenridge will serve until the November school board elections. At that time, there will be four seats open and on the ballot for the first election of the reorganized district.

In other news, Van Buren County Community School District has received nine applications for the position of superintendent, according to William Cline, board vice president.

Cline told board members at the regular meeting of the initial board May 8 that there could be three more candidates as well.

The district had set May 12 as the deadline to apply, but Cline recommended moving that back a week. The board approved setting May 19 as the deadline. The board kept the May 22 date intact to screen the candidates. The board will interview candidates on June 1.

Superintendent Dr. Pam Ewell resigned to take a superintendent’s position at Benton Community CSD. Her resignation is effective June 30.

The Van Buren County Community school board has hired Grundmeyer Leader Search to support the search for a new district superintendent.

The district has extended the time for district patrons to complete a survey to May 19.

The online survey can be accessed by computer or mobile device at: