Port Townsend School Board to plan how to fill unexpired term after LeMaster’s Monday resignation
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Bill LeMaster, who resigned from the Port Townsend School Board on Monday, is shown at a 2012 town meeting. Charlie Bermant/Peninsula Daily News

By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News

PORT TOWNSEND — The Port Townsend School Board will consider in February how to name a replacement for Bill LeMaster.

LeMaster, 65, resigned in the middle of his term, citing personal reasons.

“I have welcomed the opportunity to serve on the School Board and have the utmost confidence in the direction of the School District,” LeMaster wrote in his resignation letter presented Monday to the School Board.

The board, now down to four members, will coordinate the process of soliciting applicants for the position, conducting interviews and naming a replacement for the remainder of the term, which ends December 31, 2015.

The board has 90 days to complete the process, Superintendent David Engle said.

No action to address the vacancy was taken at Monday’s workshop meeting, aside from placing it on the agenda for the board’s retreat, scheduled for 4 p.m. Feb. 3 in the Gael Stuart Building, 1610 Blaine St.

Board Chairwoman Holley Carlson said she will miss LeMaster but called the vacancy “an exciting opportunity to interview candidates and determine the district’s future.”

The new board member must live in District 3, defined by Jacob Miller Road on the west, Discovery Road on the south and San Juan Avenue, 49th Street and Hendricks Street on the east.

The district’s north border is the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

“This is the downside of running from a single district and not having an at-large position,” said board member Jennifer James-Wilson about the requirement for candidates to live in the small district.

She called the selection of a replacement board member “new territory,” saying the average tenure of a school board member is 3 years.

By that measure, Carlson and James-Wilson, both elected in 2009 and re-elected in 2013, exceed the average, along with Anne Burkart, who was first elected in 2007 and re-elected in 2011.

Board member Pam Daly was elected in 2011.

Most board elections are unopposed, with only two contested races occurring since 2003: Burkart against Harold Sherwood in 2007 and Rita Beebe’s challenge to James-Wilson in 2013.

LeMaster was unopposed when he was elected in November 2011.

He said he filed at the last minute after no other candidates expressed interest in the seat and incumbent Bobby DuBois declined to run for a second term.

Board members expressed regret about losing LeMaster.

“We’re sorry to see Bill go,” Burkart said Saturday.

LeMaster is co-owner with Lynn Hamlin-LeMaster of Lehani’s Deli & Coffee at 221 Taylor St. and serves on EDC Team Jefferson.

Those interested in the position are asked to send letters of interest explaining also qualifications to Carlson at hcarlson@ptschools.org.

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Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or cbermant@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: January 14. 2014 7:17PM
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