8 apply for vacant Fairfield school board seat

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8 apply for vacant Fairfield school board seat

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An empty seat on the Fairfield Board of Education has attracted eight applicants vying for appointment by the board to finish the term of Jerome Kearns, who died unexpectedly last month. MICHAEL D. CLARK/STAFF

Eight applicants — including a Fairfield High School student — are candidates for appointment to fill the Fairfield school board seat left vacant by member Jerome Kearns’ death last month.

The remaining four members of the Fairfield Board of Education will next interview and vote on whom they will appoint to fill Kearns’ seat.

Besides the 18-year-old high school senior, most candidates — three women and five men — cite private industry supervisor or other similar managerial experience and volunteer experience with Fairfield Schools or community organizations as reasons they merit consideration.

The candidates, in alphabetical order, are:

  • Stephanie Barrett, who is a Fairfield Twp. resident and long-time volunteer for the school system, is an administrative assistant with the Butler County Bar Association. She lists both the current Fairfield Schools Superintendent — Billy Smith — and his predecessor — Paul Otten — as references.
  • Nick Morgan of Fairfield Twp. is a senior at Fairfield High School and touted in his application that as a student he understands “how the school works” and emphasized the importance of keeping “our excellent teachers in our district.”
  • Carrie O’Neal lives in Fairfield and is owner and art director of O’Neal Designs and has helped lead a past Fairfield Schools levy campaign and she also lists former superintendent Otten as a reference.
  • James Schultheiss of Fairfield is president and CEO of Chaco Credit Union and lists Fairfield Mayor Steve Miller among his references.
  • Heather Stephens is a Fairfield Twp. resident and school parent who also works as an online supervisor for Kohl’s.
  • James Warren is a Fairfield city resident and former teacher at three Hamilton and Clermont county school districts and is currently a returns clerk for Quality Gold.
  • Steve Wegman of Fairfield is the lead application engineer for TriHealth Corporation with Cub Scout leadership, church and Fairfield Citizens Fire Academy experience.
  • Mark Wilhelm of Fairfield is a supervisor of Zenith Logistics and a graduate of Fairfield Schools.

Under Ohio law the remaining four members of the Fairfield school board will appoint a member to fill out Kearns’ remaining term, which ends Dec. 31, 2019.

The board is scheduled to hold interviews and vote during its Jan. 12 meeting at 5 p.m. in the Catherine D. Milligan Community Room at Fairfield High School, 8800 Holden Blvd.

Kearns died Dec. 20. The father of three was a veteran school board member and also was assistant director of Butler County Job and Family Services.

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