The Medford School Board appointed a newcomer to fill the vacancy left by former board vice-chair Michael Campbell at a special meeting Wednesday evening.
Tod Hunt, a Realtor, former member of the Medford Planning Commission and parent of two South Medford High School students, will finish out the term of Campbell’s seat, which will expire June 30, 2019.
Hunt’s appointment comes as the final of several recent shifts on the School Board. As Campbell vacated both his seat and the vice-chair position, then-board Chair Karen Starchvick also stepped down from her position, keeping her seat as a director. Since July, Cynthia Wright has served as chair and Suzanne Messer is vice-chair.
Wright said that she thinks her previous experience as a board member (she served 2003 to 2007 before being re-elected in 2017) was one reason board members looked to her to fill the chair position last month.
“Our personalities are different,” Wright said, “but I don’t see that being really a big deal because we all work together really well.”
The board selected Hunt among seven candidates that included other Medford parents as well as two former board members: Sally Killen and Jeff Thomas.
Thomas spoke at length in his interview about the work he wanted to continue to close gaps in achievement among student groups and to increase graduation rates and Killen mentioned her interest in taking a harder look at charter schools.
Board members thanked both former members for their service; they rated Thomas high in their scores but decided not to hold a vote for his nomination because he lost in the most recent election to Messer.
From their comments during and after the meeting, board members picked Hunt in part because they liked the perspective he could bring as a parent as well as his suggestions to “think outside the box.”
Several times throughout his interview, Hunt mentioned involving students more in their own education, emphasizing his interest in offering a variety of choices to students with different strengths and interests.
“I think students need to be aware of their intelligences,” he told the board.
After his appointment, Hunt said he looks forward to collaborating with the other directors.
“I don’t have any false illusions that I’m coming into this thing and making any sweeping changes,” he said.