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G’town school board acts quickly to fill vacancy


GERMANTOWN–Jeremy Smith has resigned from the Board of Education of the Germantown Central School District for health reasons and Faydra Geraghty has been appointed to the board through the budget vote and board election May 16, 2017.

The board accepted Mr. Smith’s resignation “with regret” at the December 14 meeting.

Superintendent Susan Brown said Tuesday that she had done some research prior to the meeting and presented members of the board with their options: 1) appoint someone to the board until the annual vote, at no cost; 2) hold a special election, at the cost of about $2,500; 3) allow BOCES District Superintendent Gladys I. Cruz to appoint a board member.

Board consensus was to appoint–preferably someone who had served on the school board previously and was familiar with the budget process. Board president Tammi Kellenbenz suggested Ms. Geraghty. The vote was unanimous to appoint her. “Everyone was very excited that Faydra is willing to step in until the May vote,” said Ms. Brown.

Reached Tuesday, Ms. Geraghty said that she was “sad about the circumstances” that had brought her back on the board. “This must have been a difficult decision for Jerry, but he’s a team player and wants the best for the school,” she said.

Ms. Geraghty won a seat on the board in 2012 in a crowded field of five candidates vying for two open seats. She completed the four-year term last spring and declined to run again. “I still support the school and the town,” she said, “so I agreed to step in now as the board develops the budget.”

Ms. Geraghty, a graduate of Germantown Central School, is director of nursing at ARC of Ulster-Greene and serves on the town’s Comprehensive Plan Review Committee. Asked if she would run next spring, she said, “No, I will not. I’ve agreed to step in for a few months.”

Ms. Kellenbenz’s current term ends next spring. On Tuesday, May 16, voters will be instructed to vote for two candidates, Ms. Brown explained. The candidate who draws the most votes will win the four-year seat. The candidate with the second-highest number of votes will have a term that runs from May 17, 2017 through June 30, 2018, when Mr. Smith’s term would have ended.

Mr. Smith, 77, also won his term in a crowded field, in 2014, when four candidates ran for two open seats. He retired as an executive in the merchant shipping industry. His stepchildren graduated from GCS, and his late wife, Cynthia Smith, taught there and served on the school board. Mr. Smith also served one term on the Town Board.

Reached at his home Tuesday, Mr. Smith said that after a bout of illness, “my mind is fine, but mobility is a problem. I can drive, but I haven’t yet. I couldn’t give my all to the board.”

Mr. Smith said that he wished the school board well, “in what looks to be a difficult time ahead, with a new administration in Washington, D.C., that has nominated a secretary of education who does not support public schools.”


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