Lakota school board appoints former employee to vacant seat

LIBERTY, WEST CHESTER TWPS. — The governing board of Lakota Schools has appointed a former district official to fill a vacant seat.

The Lakota Board of Education voted unanimously, 4-0, Monday evening to appoint a former curriculum director to replace former school board member Darbi Boddy, who last month was removed from the board.

The board voted in March to declare member Boddy’s seat vacant following her 90-day absence, according to the Journal-News’ media partner WCPO-TV.

Filling the seat and the rest of Boddy’s term will be Lakota school parent Christina French, who had previously worked for the school system as director of K-6 curriculum before leaving that position to pursue other opportunities.

“We are excited to welcome Mrs. French to the Lakota Board of Education,” said Board President Julie Shaffer. “Her wealth of experiences will enhance our ability to best serve the students, staff, families and community of Lakota Local Schools.”

A 21-year veteran of public education, French was the longtime principal at Lakota’s Hopewell Elementary, overseeing the transition to the school becoming a K-2 building, according to a statement released by Lakota officials.

While at Hopewell, she led the school to being awarded the Momentum Award for academic growth and achievement from the Ohio Department of Education.

She was chosen among 29 candidates who applied for the school board seat, said Lakota officials.

French described her interest in serving on the five-member board as part of her “passion for leading, engaging the community, building relationships and creating sustainable systems to produce student academic growth, keeping in mind the individual needs of all learners.”

“I believe that building strong relationships with the community and the school district is what opens the door for decision-making that will move Lakota Local Schools forward and create the best educational opportunities for our students,” she said.

The board held a special meeting on Monday to interview 11 applicants for the position.

Prior to the meeting, each member reviewed the 29 applications and submitted the names of applicants they wished the board to consider for the appointment.

“Given the exceptional candidates for the position, this was not an easy decision for the board to make,” said Shaffer. “We are grateful for the interest from our community and look forward to getting French up to speed so we can continue to make decisions in the best interest of our students, our staff, our families and our community.”

French will serve the remainder of Boddy’s term through 2025 and will have the option of a full, four-year term should she win election in November 2025.

French will be part of the board’s meeting at 6 p.m. today at Lakota East Freshman School at 7630 Bethany Lane in Liberty Twp.

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