Midd-West fills vacant board seat

MIDDLEBURG – Monday was a turning point for the Midd-West School District.

In a unanimous vote, the district’s board of school directors appointed Christopher Nesbit to fill the vacancy left by former director Scott Norman. The action came only days before an ultimatum under which the board’s failure to fill the vacancy would have turned the decision over to the Snyder County Court of Common Pleas.

Nesbit was one of three candidates the board considered to fill the position. He, along with Tara L. Dively and James W. Downey, were interviewed during a special meeting on May 1. Ross A. Snook also was on the list of candidates but withdrew his name.

At that time, the board failed to reach a majority decision to appoint a candidate to the board.

Monday’s meeting looked like it may end without resolution for a second time when director Nancy Kroh opened with a motion to uphold the board’s previous votes and allow the court to decide which candidate would be appointed. Her motion was met only by support from Jeremy Tittle, but other directors voted in opposition.

Nesbit, who garnered more than 1,000 votes as a write-in candidate in the last election was the only candidate the board voted to reconsider on Monday.

Several individuals who attended the meeting stood during periods of public comment to voice support for him.

“Board members are supposed to be elected by the community,” said Judy Buranich, an employee of the district.

She said Nesbit already has been on a ballot and received support from the majority.

“Pick who the community wants,” Buranich urged.

She was joined by other area residents who asked members of the board to make a decision without involving the court.

In a roll-call vote, all eight directors chose to appoint Nesbit to fill the vacancy.

Area residents who attended the meeting expressed gratitude for the board’s leadership and hope that the district now can move toward healing and reconciliation.

Board president Victor Abate said the district’s search for a superintendent also is coming to a close. Out of 16 applications, 12 completed the first round of interviews, he said. The district is now in the second round of interviews with six semi-finalists. After a finalist is selected, the district will perform an extensive and thorough reference check before announcing the selected candidate, he said.

Appointment of a new superintendent currently is slated for June. Abate said the board will schedule and announce a meet-and-greet to introduce the individual.