MORGAN -- The Morgan County School Board recently appointed Jody Hipwell to complete the term of the late Earl Ericksen until December 2012.
Ericksen, 87, died July 12 after 18 years on the school board.
"I would like to carry on Dr. Ericksen's commitment and dedication to the students of Morgan County and the Morgan Board of Education," said Hipwell, who moved to the county in 2001. "I have a great desire to help the children of Morgan County succeed in their educational pursuits."
Hipwell has served on many local school committees, councils and boards in the last decade and ran against Ericksen in 2008 for a seat on the board. Hipwell's participation in the election was a deciding factor in their choice among Hipwell and four other "very capable candidates," board president Joey Skinner said.
"We had some super candidates. It was a hard decision to make," board member Ken Durrant said. "One underlying factor is, she ran for it in the community. (County residents have already) showed a lot of support."
Hipwell lost to Ericksen in 2008 by just 39 votes, 350-311.Hipwell has a bachelors degree in business administration and human resources and has work experience in accounts receivable, payroll and workmen's compensation.
"I recognize the future financial constraints the budget will have on the school district and would like to share my business experience and knowledge with the decisions that will need to be made to keep the district financially sound," said Hipwell, who has two children now in Morgan schools. She has two other children who graduated from Morgan High.
"We have lived in Arkansas, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia. My children have attended some of the best schools and also some of the poorest schools in this country, giving me insight into many different aspects of education that I will be able to share with the school board in Morgan," she said. "I have been pleased with the education my children have received here in Morgan."
Among her many local volunteer positions, Hipwell said she's most liked her eight years of service on the high school's scholarship board.
"The one thing I think is vital to our education system in Morgan is the number of amazing teachers we have and their willingness to help the students in any way they can," Hipwell said. "The other thing I feel is critical to the education of students is parent involvement. I have seen firsthand what a difference it can make to children if their parents are involved, so I encourage all parents and grandparents to get out and help in the schools wherever they can, be it reading to students, helping in classrooms or at activities. Get involved, it really makes a difference in our children's lives and educational experience."