WARREN SCHOOLS Board of education member plans to leave

The board member will leave to avoid conflict of interest.
WARREN -- Lynn Gibson plans to leave the board of education at the end of this year, after 16 years of service, so her husband's company can bid on new school construction projects.
Gibson, first elected to the board in November 1989, said she will not be running for re-election this November. The candidate filing deadline is Aug. 25.
The other board member whose term is expiring at the end of this year is Robert L. Faulkner Sr., who is seeking re-election. According to the Trumbull County Board of Elections, Franklin Bostardi has also filed to run in the race.
Preserving integrity
Gibson said she is leaving because her husband, John Gibson Jr., chief executive officer of Jack Gibson Construction Co., wants the opportunity to bid on work in the $170 million schools construction and renovation project that will give the district a new high school and four new kindergarten-through-eighth-grade buildings.
She said she'd view it as a conflict of interest if her husband, a general contractor, were to bid on behalf of his company while she is serving on the board. "I would not want to put the board of education in any jeopardy for their integrity, nor my husband, his company or the people who work there," she explained.
The competitive bidding could occur late this fall or early next year. If it occurs this year, she might resign before the end of her term, allowing the board to appoint someone to finish her term, she said. The last scheduled board meeting of the year is set for Dec. 6.
"I have never regretted one day of serving on the school board. I've just loved every minute of it, and I'm very sad to step down. It was a very difficult decision for me, but I want to do the right thing, and the right thing is to step down and give the people in my husband's company the opportunity to bid on the work," Gibson said.
"I have loved working with the people on the board. Although we're diverse in opinions, all the people I've ever worked with have the same goal in mind, and that was to try to make things better for the children and the citizens of Warren. And that's been very rewarding," Gibson said.
Superintendent's agenda
Also at this week's board meeting, the new schools superintendent, Dr. Kathryn Hellweg, announced that the district will hire an executive director of teaching and learning.
"It's exciting that we're going to be able to put a teaching and learning cabinet together that will help support learning for our students and to build on the really good things that are already going on," she said.
She recommended, and the board approved, several changes in school administrators:
UKaren Thomas, former principal at East Middle School, will become Garfield Elementary School principal. This creates a vacancy to be filled in the principal's office at East.
UEdward Ashcroft, former assistant principal at Western Reserve Middle School, will become principal at Horace Mann Elementary.
UJill Merolla, former principal at Secrest Elementary, which closed at the end of last school year, will become McGuffey Elementary principal.
UMary Jo Cross, former Horace Mann Elementary principal, will be a principal on special assignment assisting with preschool education.
URobert Snyder, former Harding High School assistant principal, will be a Western Reserve Middle School assistant principal.
UClaudia von Ostwalden, former Washington Alternative School principal, will replace Snyder as a Harding assistant principal.
UJohn L. Wilson, the district's development and community outreach director, will oversee Washington school.

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