The governing board of the William S. Hart Union High School District selected its newest member Wednesday during a special meeting at the district office.
The board chose Erin McKeon Wilson, a lifelong resident and Canyon High School graduate who will now represent Trustee Area No. 4, an east side territory that includes her alma mater and Sierra Vista Junior High.
After about an hour of interviews, the current board members conducted a “straw poll,” to see where the board was, and three indicated Wilson was the top choice from five candidates, prompting board member Linda Storli to move to name Wilson to the opening. The four current members approved the motion unanimously.
Board President Bob Jensen said he was impressed by all of the answers from the five interviewees, and Wilson’s experience in understanding students and their needs will put the district in the best position in terms of making students “opportunity ready.”
“I felt that Mrs. Wilson was very dedicated to students’ families and the community — I felt like she would be a board member who would really be there for all students,” Jensen said, “and with our new strategic plan, we are focusing on being there for all students.”
Board member Joe Messina echoed a similar sentiment, and said the board needs a variety of voices, including those who might have perspective from outside the educational system.
“I chose Erin because first and foremost, she’s involved within the district. She’s doing stuff on a regular basis,” Messina said. “I think she’ll do a great job. We need the general public in those seats. We don’t always need educators. We need the average Santa Claritan in there.”
Wilson discussed how she participated in school activities with her five children, with her youngest graduating last year.
She also attended The Signal’s town hall on fentanyl this past winter with a friend, and it spurred her interest in community involvement, she said in a phone interview after Wednesday’s meeting.
She also visited City Hall and attended a council meeting, she added.
“I’m a connector. When I get information, I like to pass it on. I was just looking for ways to serve in my community,” she said, and so when a friend mentioned to her the opening on the school board, she immediately thought, “‘Is there anything I care about more?’” she recalled asking herself rhetorically.
When the seat opened up, she said she was “poised and ready to take the opportunity.”
As someone who also has been very involved in the running of multiple organizations through her church in Sand Canyon, she said she also brings an understanding of how to work within the structure of a governing board and respecting different approaches.
She also provided examples of how she’s seen firsthand the challenges parents and students face and felt she could offer help for how parents can advocate on behalf of their children.
“I would say my most illustrious board is my family for the last 32 years,” she said, while discussing some of the community organizations she’s helped lead. “With my husband and my five children, I have worked to unify — I would say one of my greatest strengths is unifying that board.”
The seat for Trustee Area No. 4 became vacant after James Webb announced his resignation, which became effective in May. He said he needed to spend more time with his family, including his parents who were having health issues.
There were a total of seven who pulled applications, but two, John Amneus and Donald Rimac, declined to take part in the interviews. The other applicants for the seat were, in alphabetical order, Eric Anderson, Thomas Gavin, Santa Rivera and Tyger White.
In the first and only “straw poll” of the candidates after the initial round of interviews, Anderson was the only other candidate who received a vote, from board member Cherise Moore.
Wilson is expected to be sworn in at the board’s July 19 meeting, and her term is set to expire in December 2024.