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Earl Somero appointed to Mascenic School Board

NEW IPSWICH — Earl Somero, the Mascenic School District’s moderator for the past four years, will fill the vacant spot as New Ipswich School Board representative.

On March 12, Chris Lund, a long-time New Ipswich representative on the board, put in his resignation. The task of searching out his replacement fell to the other New Ipswich representatives, Jim Kingston and Jeff Salmonson. On Friday, the district announced its decision to appoint Somero.

Somero will hold the position until the next March election, when the position will be put on the ballot.

Somero will be stepping down as moderator, he said in an interview Monday. Somero previously served as a School Board member from 1981 to 1987.

“I care about people and youngsters, and the community,” Somero said when asked why he had applied for the position after more than 25 years away from the board. “We live in a special area. This community is unique. I’ve seen lots of good work in the district lately. I’d like to be part of building on that and provide opportunities for our youth so they can succeed in life once they leave our school system.”

The board did not solicit any candidates, Salmonson said, but did advertise the position in local newspapers and on the district website.

“It’s a tough job to fill,” he said. “We received the letters of interest, weighed them against our advertised qualities for an ideal candidate. Some of those qualities consisted of interest in Mascenic education, knowledge of town history and culture and experience on boards and committees.”

The School Board received multiple applicants for the position, said Salmonson in an interview Monday, although he declined to comment on the amount or identity of the other applicants. Somero’s former experience as a School Board member was one of the deciding factors in the decision, he said.

“In Earl we saw that he was bringing with him six years of experience on the School Board, including one year as chair, as well as moderator, and other volunteer experience that he’s performed for the town,” Salmonson said. “The qualities that he brings fit the advertisement right to a T.”

Kingston, his fellow New Ipswich representative, agreed. “Earl met all of those qualifications in spades,” he said in an interview Monday. “We were really lucky and happy to have him fill out Chris Lund’s term.”

Somero said that although he will no longer be the moderator for the school district, he will continue as the New Ipswich town moderator, although he said he has already notified the town of New Ipswich that he will not be pursuing re-election next year.

According to Interim Superintendent Betsey Cox-Buteau, in the absence of the school moderator, the district clerk may take on the role, or the district may call a special meeting to elect a new moderator.

Kingston said the board had not yet discussed which path the district would be taking, and would make a decision after discussing it as a full board.

The decision to step down as district moderator for a school board position was not an easy one, Somero said. “I gave it quite a bit of thought, but I enjoy people,” he said. “And even as I run the meeting, it’s a special feeling to get people in a room to discuss issues and see the end results that people can achieve when they get together.”

Somero said he was looking forward to fulfilling Lund’s term. “I’d just like to be able to do the best I can. Once I complete, they’re better off for it. The strength of our community comes from the people our community,” he said. “We have a lot of talent, volunteers and support and I’m just glad to be part of it.”

“I just want to thank the people that did apply,” said Kingston. “We had several well-qualified candidates, and I just want to say, the appointment is up in one year. It would be wonderful to see one or more of the candidates throw their hat in the ring during the next election.”

The School Board is scheduled to meet next on April 15 at 6 p.m. in the Mascenic Education Center in Greenville.

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 235 or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter at @AshleySaari.

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