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Beyond the Cave

Ransom Resigns: Creating a SHS board vacancy

BTC Staff
Board member Andrea Ransom stepped down, effective immediately, on Sept. 6, leaving a vacancy to be filled.

On Sept. 6, 2023 board trustee Andrea Ransom submitted a formal letter of resignation stating her intent to step down from the Summerville Union High School’s board.

In a recent interview, Mrs. Ransom shared that she has moved out of state and is attending to personal family matters at this time.

“I stepped down to take care of family. My father-in-law is 83 and had two surgeries in August. Another family member was having some other issues and we felt the need to be closer to them. My husband and I have always put our family first, and being far away when people you love are in need, is a terrible feeling,” stated Mrs. Ransom.

Mrs. Ransom served one year of her four-year term on the board, and truly enjoyed her time while serving.

“I loved being on the board. It was a very hard to give my notice. Since I worked for the school previously, I had already developed relationships with the staff and had close bonds with them. I enjoyed the students and the activities the school provided for them.”

Mrs. Ransom also shared just how much she will miss the staff at SHS.

“We have the best teachers; they truly care about the kids and their well being. The staff, every one of them is so valued. I just hope I was able to help them feel that way with my board presence,” shared Mrs. Ransom.

Mrs. Ransom could often be found at a myriad of school events and functions, making her presence and commitment known to the school community.

As her time came to a close on the board, she shared her initial intent for running for the board seat.

“Working at the school previously, I wanted there to be diversity on the board. The previous board did not have a woman. Not only did I have three children that attended the school, I wanted to represent the ‘Mama Bears.’ I also knew the staff and wanted them to know they could be heard as well.”

Beyond the Cave (BTC) sat down with board President Mr. Atkins, to learn more about the board vacancy.

“We received a letter of resignation because she is going to help her father-in-law with this difficult time of his health. They will be moving out of state. There is a logistics [matter] of taking care of her family and it would be too much time to be away. That was the reason she shared with us,” stated Mr. Atkins.

The board consists of five elected representatives and with Ransom stepping down, there is now a vacant board-seat. There are two different ways in which this board seat can be filled—either through holding a special election or an appointment.

“We notified the public last meeting of a vacancy. The board had an option to either use tax-dollars and to make it an actual ballot-election or fill the seat with an appointment. We believe it would be more fiscally responsible to our tax-payers money to have the other option where we do an application-interview process,” stated Mr. Atkins.

At the Sept. 13 board meeting, Superintendent Merrill recommended the Board make a provisional appointment to fill the board vacancy.

“Now the application is out there and anyone who lives in our district can fill out the application, submit it, and then on our Sept. 27 meeting, we will see if we had any applications come forward,” said Mr. Atkins.

At the October meeting the Board of Trustees will interview the applicants. There will be a public hearing for interviews.

“At that time, we will actually decide who we want to sit on that seat. And that person will swear in and continue with that meeting with us. It’s kind of a unique situation where a vacancy occurred a year into a term, so now we will fill the seat for three years, until the next election cycle.”

“At that time, we will actually decide who we want to sit on that seat. And that person will swear in and continue with that meeting with us. It’s kind of a unique situation where a vacancy occurred a year into a term, so now we will fill the seat for three years, until the next election cycle.”

— Mr. Atkins, Board President

Board members serve four-year terms, so the appointment will serve out the rest of Ransom’s term.

The vacancy has affected the board in both negative and positive ways.

“It was our loss; I really appreciated her insight as a mom and a community member. I think it was very important to have a female in her position, bringing that to the table, [a perspective] that we as guys just didn’t see,” stated Mr. Atkins.

On one hand, the board will miss her presence and her insight she brought to the table. However, by stepping down from the school board, Ransom created a vacancy for someone else to step in and pick up the baton.

“Maybe we will see another woman from our community take up the call to fill in that gap. I see it as a two-sided coin; it’s our loss that she’s moving on, but now it’s a positive thing as we wonder who will step in,” shared Mr. Atkins.

This is a time-sensitive issue for the board.

“Five is better than four. Five is an odd number and it is set up for the balance of power. Or, the odd-man-out, if you will. It is designed that way to keep it healthy. I believe that is why we do that—the odd number keeps things balanced,” said Mr. Atkins.

The application deadline is September 29 with interviews taking place on October 11.

“We don’t have all year to fill this seat—and there is a sense of urgency,” stated Mr. Atkins.

“We do represent the community. So although the constituents put Andrea Ransom into office, we are representing the constituents by doing our due diligence to fill it with someone from the district. I think this is a good representation of what this role is all about—we are trying to represent our community and they trust us to make these decisions,” shared Mr. Atkins.

Mr. Merrill, SHS superintendent and the board’s only employee, shared his thoughts on Mrs. Ransom’s resignation.

“She was elected just last term. She did work with us here in the [District] office , and then she took a job outside of the office and then ran for the school board—I was excited to work with her. And unfortunately, we don’t get to work together anymore. She’s a very nice person.”

Mr. Merrill shared the effect Mrs. Ransom’s resignation had on the current board.

“The effect for me is making sure the remaining four board members have all of my attention and support. Now we have an even number of board members and we do not want to be in that position for a long time,” explained Superintendent Merrill.

Superintendent Merrill shares a sentiment of gratitude for Mrs. Ransom.

“I really appreciated her knowledge and working with us; I was looking forward to having much more time with her. But unfortunately, that didn’t work. I wish her the very best of luck.”

Mrs. Ransom shared her final thoughts and offered advice to the incoming board member and put emphasis on standing up for what you believe.

“Together you work as a team, but you also have to be able to stand up for what you know and believe in. Even if it’s not how all the votes are going.”

BTC will continue to follow this board appointment.

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