WENATCHEE — The Wenatchee School Board has an unexpected vacancy to fill.
Sarah Knox announced Tuesday night she has moved out of town to accept a job in Seattle, requiring her to resign from the post she has held for the past two years.
She made the announcement via telephone during the “board communication” portion of the board meeting.
“Tonight is my last meeting,” she said. “I’m sorry I’m not there. It has been an honor and a privilege to be on the board.”
Knox, who previously worked as a STEM librarian for North Central Regional Library, accepted a job with Refugee Women’s Alliance, a Seattle-based nonprofit that supports refugee and immigrant women and families.
The board will appoint someone to complete the remaining two years of her term.
Superintendent Paul Gordon said community members interested in filling the Position 5 post will be invited to apply. Applications have been posted on the district website, wenatcheeschools.org. The board will further discuss the timeline and process at the Nov. 26 meeting, he said.
That’s also the meeting when two newly elected board members — Martin Barron and Tim Larson — are expected to take the oath of office and veteran board member Laura Jaecks, who was re-elected Nov. 5, will renew her oath.
Larson in June tried unsuccessfully to withdraw from the Position 2 race against Karina Vega-Villa. He is anticipating moving out of the district by January, so could not serve after that, which is what prompted him to stop campaigning. After learning he won the vote and could still serve in the post until then, he is leaning toward that option. If he does not take the job, the board would have to appoint someone since, according to state election rules, the job cannot automatically go to Vega-Villa.
Barron replaces Sunny Hemphill in the Position 3 spot.
All of the board positions are at-large, so members can live in any part of the district.
Gordon said the new board might want to talk about assigning geographic regions to the board positions in the future, which would require board members to live in the area they represent. The city of Wenatchee recently implemented a similar change for its city council positions, which was designed to make sure all neighborhoods and populations are represented.
In a written statement to the board, Knox seemed to agree.
“I hope that the board takes this opportunity to build a board that more adequately reflects the diversity of our valley,” she said.
With Vega-Villa’s exit, the board has no Latina/Latino representation.
Vega-Villa, an Ecuadorian-American, is the director for Wenatchee Valley College’s Mathematics, Engineering and Science Achievement (MESA) Community College Program, which recruits and mentors students pursuing science, technology, engineering and math majors. She also has served as an adjunct biology instructor at WVC.
The other sitting board member is Dr. Michele Sandberg, who was elected along with Hemphill and Knox in 2017. They ran on a joint platform of creating positive change.