The Whitehall District Schools board of education has filled its second vacancy in the past four months last Tuesday evening (Oct. 29) by selecting Sara Mussman from among two finalists they interviewed at a special meeting.
Board members interviewed Mussman at the session open to the public. The board also interviewed a second candidate, Ryan Bennett, through a tele-conferencing video call. Bennett was in Las Vegas, Nevada, attending a work-related conference.
Mussman was appointed by a unanimous roll call vote of the other six school board members.
Mussman was nominated by board treasurer James TenBrink. The nomination was seconded by trustee Rachel Mitteer.
"Sara (Mussman) stepped above on her socio-economic comment," TenBrink said.
Mussman, in the interview, said one of her motivations in applying for the vacant school board position is being able to represent a variety socio-economic groups in the district.
Mussman works for a property management firm, and lives in Whitehall Township.
According to her resume submitted to the school board, Mussman wrote, "As you can see from my resume I am currently working as an Administrative Assistant for BVW Property Management. Because this position requires me to work with many differnt people of varying socio-economic backgrounds with various needs and develop more flexibility more flexibility for different situations I might encounter."
She graduated from Grand Valley State University in 2013 with a Bachelor of Science in Geography.
Before starting work for BVW in March 2018 Mussman worked in medical office support for Spectrum Health.
Mussman said she has three children attending Whitehall Districts Schools, two at Ealy Elementary and one at the middle school.
She told the board she is impressed with the welcoming environment of the schools. "From the minute we started it has felt like home."
Mussman said the district is very inclusive. "It's wonderful how its a family community with committed teachers."
The candidate said she would like to see support of the arts on the level of the core subjects and that girls should be encouraged to pursue STEM (science, technology, engineering, math).
Bennett, who is the business manager for UA. Local #174, lives in Dalton Township. He has one student who graduated from Whitehall High School and two others who are attending schools in the district.
Bennett is a member of the Muskegon Community College Foundation board, has been involved in United Way of the Lakeshore and is a Muskegon Rotary member.
The candidate said he is interested in the vacant board seat because it would be a way to give back to the community.
Bennett said he works well in a board setting and has a clear understanding of the school board's fiduciary responsibility.
He said the district's strengths are the quality of the staff and administration, and improvements made to the infrastructure.
Mussman is filling the remaining term of Shon Anne Cook who served as the board secretary. Cook submitted a letter of resignation on October 4.
In July the board appointed Shannon McGoran to fill a vacancy which opened with the resignation of trustee Penny Evert who left to accept a job as the school district's transportation supervisor.