Members of the Community Unit School District 7 Board of Education voted unanimously during a special meeting Tuesday night to appoint Becky Hatlee, Gillespie, to fill a vacancy created by the resignation of long-serving board member Peyton Bernot.
The action followed an executive session of more than two hours during which board members interviewed each of three applicants for the position. In addition to Hatlee, Christopher Hicks and Peggy Allan submitted applications to be considered for the appointment. Of the three, only Hatlee filed petitions to appear on the April consolidated election ballot for election to the board.
“I feel honored and I’m excited,” Hatlee said after she was appointed to the board on a motion by Bill Carter, seconded by Weye Schmidt.
Hatlee, who has three school-aged children in district schools, previously served as an alderperson for the City of Gillespie. She said she views her position on the school board as “an opportunity to serve the community in a capacity other than I have done before.” She is employed as a Health Program Coordinator for the Macoupin County Public Health Department, and she has one child attending college.
“I had thought about (running for school board) for years, but I never wanted to run against someone who was already on the board and was being a good steward,” she said. “The timing was right with the resignation of Mr. Bernot and the two of us being from the same township.”
Hatlee’s appointment will run until members elected in the April election are seated, meaning she will sit on the board as an appointee for January, February, March and April. If elected during the consolidated election, she will serve the remaining two years of Bernot’s four-year term.
First elected to the board when he was still a senior in high school, Bernot served seven and a half years on the school board before announcing his resignation in November.
Incumbent board members Mark Hayes, Jenni Alepra and Weye Schmidt have filed petitions for re-election to the board. Hatlee will vie with Jerry Yeager for election to Bernot’s unexpired term.