BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – Fort Madison school board member Jillian Troxel will be stepping off the school board effective Aug. 1.
Troxel and her husband, Andrew, who was a member of the Fort Madison Community School district, will be moving back to Wisconsin before the new school year begins and officially submitted her letter of resignation on Sunday. Her husband has accepted an offer at his alma mater.
Troxel was just elected to the board last fall, which, according to the Iowa Secretary of State’s office creates what is called a “mid-term” vacancy because another school board election would take place prior to Troxel coming up for re-election.
According to Iowa statutes, filling vacancies is subject to the position being filled. Chapter 13 of the Secretary of State’s election handbook outlines how to fill the vacancy, but school boards have some leeway in filling the position. It would appear however that if a replacement were appointed, that position may need to appear on the November general election ballot to “Fill a Vacancy”.
The section reads, “The statutes are different for each type of office. In some situations, the governing body must appoint a replacement and constituents have no ability to request a special election. In other situations, a special election must be called and there is no ability for a governing body to appoint a replacement. Finally, there are also situations where the governing body must choose whether to fill a vacancy by appointment or hold a special election.”
Fort Madison Superintendent Erin Slater said information was being sent to the district from the Iowa Association of School Boards and the district would have a better idea on the proper way to fill Troxel’s position next week when the board and administration have had time to review the procedures.
“We’ll be very transparent about the process,” she said late Wednesday evening.
Slater said Troxel was a great addition to the board and will be missed.
“She is an excellent board member and does her research,” Slater said. “She’s prepared for every single board meeting on background and asks high level questions. She’s been present at all work sessions and is very visible in the buildings and learning about programs and teachers and students and what school the board does.”
Troxel wouldn’t say if she has an inclination to run for another school board seat in Wisconsin or the future, but said other schools might pale in comparison to what Fort Madison is accomplishing.
“I’ve enjoyed being the process, but I think I was a little spoiled because this group had such cohesiveness before I came on the board,” Troxel said.
“That Lighthouse project, they had already been going through the trenches of that and lot of that was done before I got there. It’s an ongoing process, but their message and goals were unified when I stepped in there. I’d be hard pressed to find a better a place.”
She said the district has positioned itself very well to be successful in the future.
“I’m really impressed with the message we’re trying to communicate. It’s been a such a learning experience to see how the school district works from a variety of different perspectives. I’ve been so amazed by the work the district is doing and that translates into the classroom with our kids, teachers and associates and all that filters up through the leadership to the administration office and the board table.”
Slater said the board will have until Aug. 30 to fill the position.