The Jamestown Public Schools' Board of Education is now back to full strength.
On Tuesday, Shelly Leathers was sworn into action during the board's evening meeting, bringing the board back up to its seven-member capacity.
Two months after the board accepted the resignation of former board member Timothy Thomas, Leathers now holds the seat through its expiration in May. Leathers, a Jamestown High School alumnus, comes to the board with experience in the fields of education and finance. While she is currently employed at L.J. Stein as an accounting manager, she also has previously worked as an adjunct instructor at Jamestown Business College, a business education teacher at JHS and in public accounting at BWB.
According to Leathers, a Jamestown native, her decision to apply for the seat stems from her connection with the Jamestown area and school district.
"I wanted to do something that I thought was important, that I would enjoy and I truly believe in," Leathers said. "I think, as always, we want to provide the best education we can to the students of the school district. And we all know, with budget cuts, that's becoming more difficult as years go on. I was a public accountant for 13 years, and a lot of my clients at that time were school districts. So I have some familiarity with how school districts run, and fund accounting and that sort of thing. With that education, and the finances being one of the biggest challenges, I hope to bring some knowledge there and make that an easier transition from year to year for budgeting purposes."
From a board perspective, Joe DiMaio, board president, said Leathers' background played a large role in their decision to select her from the pool of three competent applicants.
"First of all, it was nice to see three bona fide candidates," DiMaio said. "It's nice to be able to say you picked the best of the best instead of the best of the worst. But, I guess her experience had a great deal to do with it. She's had experience on both sides of the fence. And her kids have gone through (the district), she's volunteered, she's worked with the students and so she has a great deal of working knowledge of how this system works. And one of the biggests assets that I feel anybody can have is loyalty, and she showed that with her loyalty to Jamestown school district - and that made a big difference for me."
Leathers lives in Jamestown with her husband, David. Her children graduated from JHS, and are currently attending Kent State University and Ohio State University. She said she fully intends to run for re-election in May's board elections.
Other business included the approval of a series of change orders for the district's capital projects at Persell Middle School and JHS, instructional and non-instructional personnel changes and additions, as well as approval of the minutes and placement recommendations of the Committee on Special Education and the Committee on Preschool Special Education.
DiMaio was also approved to attend a meeting with the New York State Association of Small City School Districts on Oct. 8. DiMaio said the meeting will include a discussion on the upcoming November trial for the NYSASCSD lawsuit against the state regarding inequitable funding to school districts.