ATWATER -- School trustees welcomed new board member Larry Whitney at Tuesday's meeting, bringing the governing body back up to four members. It will be mid-December before the board once again is back to full strength.
Board Clerk Kelly Fincher swore in Whitney, who was elected in the Oct. 16 election in which Sheila Whitley was recalled as a trustee. Joe Hoffar and Scott Lee ran unopposed for two other trustee vacancies and will be seated at the Dec. 11 meeting at the newly completed Bellevue School gymnasium. Board President Lena Mendoza did not run for re-election and her term ends this month.
Whitney, a lifelong Atwater resident and owner of a Merced glass company, said he is excited and ready to go to work on the board. He said board membership feels somewhat like a family and he is eager to move forward.
Fincher said the district is getting back to normal and it will be great to have five members in December. In May, trustees voted 3-2 to fire Superintendent Melinda Hennes. In July the board voted 3-2, this time to reinstate Hennes, who returned to work in August.
Whitley resigned from the board after it was too late to rescind the recall election. Trustee John Hall resigned immediately after he changed his earlier termination vote and reinstated Hennes.
The board Tuesday voted unanimously to hire Linda Levesque to be the assistant superintendent for business.
Levesque, now a Mariposa County Unified School District administrator, starts her chief budget officer role here Nov. 7 and will earn $111,580 a year.
Levesque replaces Martin Fregos, who resigned last summer to accept an administrative job at a Los Gatos school district. An Atwater resident, Levesque was one of five finalists for the position.
"The district is thrilled to be able to hire a professional with such great experience and such wonderful recommendations," Hennes said. "We are confident under her guidance the district will continue to thrive and prosper."
Reporter Doane Yawger can be reached at (209) 385-2407 or email@example.com.