Longtime Merced resident fills term on county school board

dyawger@mercedsunstar.comDecember 17, 2013 

— Dennis Hanks of Merced was sworn in Monday as the newest member of the Merced County Board of Education.

Hanks, 71, replaces the late Evelyn Eagleton on the five-member board. His term on the board from Trustee Area No. 1 runs through 2014.

At its monthly session Monday afternoon, the board unanimously chose David March of Los Banos as chairman and Gloria Honey of Winton as vice chairman. These largely ceremonial roles are to run through next year.

A resident of Merced for 41 years, Hanks is retired from a career of more than 30 years in the communications industry. His late wife, Sarah, served on the county school board from 1997 to 2000.

“It’s an opportunity to pay back something to the community for the good times I’ve spent here,” Hanks said. Three people initially applied for the vacancy, but it was determined that one candidate did not live in Trustee Area 1, which covers the greater Merced area.

Eagleton, a former assistant superintendent with the Merced County Office of Education, died Sept. 10 after a lengthy illness. Board members decided to make a provisional appointment rather than schedule a special election, which could have cost $120,000, to replace her.

Hanks was sworn in by state Sen. Anthony Cannella, R-Ceres, who also presented Lawrence “Reno” Martinelli with the 12th State Senate District Teacher of the Year award. Martinelli, a special education teacher for sixth- through eighth-grade students, has lived in the Planada area for more than 30 years and is involved with a number of community organizations.

Steve Gomes, Merced County superintendent of schools, told board members that the second annual “Report on Our Schools” sessions would be held Feb. 27 in Merced and Feb. 28 in Los Banos.

The Feb. 27 event will be held at Merced’s Yosemite Church and the Feb. 28 event at the Los Banos Community Center. The gatherings of administrators and trustees will highlight developments in education.

Sun-Star staff writer Doane Yawger can be reached at (209) 385-2407 or dyawger@mercedsunstar.com.

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