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Two apply for school board seat

| February 15, 2007 11:00 PM

By GWEN ALBERS Western News Reporter

Libby School Board during its meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 20, will choose between two applicants to fill a vacancy on the seven-member board.

Semi-retired educator and mental health worker Dennie Yeager and tax preparer Tracy Comeau have applied for the seat left vacant after trustee Melanie Wood resigned earlier this month.

The appointee will serve until the May 8 election and could keep the seat if elected.

Yeager, 67, moved to Libby in 1972. For 14 years, he was a guidance counselor for Libby Junior High School.

Yeager said he also was involved with developing the Lincoln County Campus of Flathead Valley Community College in Libby. Over five years, he served as a grant writer and interim director. As a secondary administrator at FVCC in Libby, Yeager handled financial aid, was a student advisor and program director.

He then spent 10 years working as a case manager and case management director for Libby Mental Health.

"I consider myself semi-retired, but have a lot of energy left," Yeager said. "I thought this would be a chance to get involved."

Comeau, 43, in May 2006 ran an unsuccessful campaign for school board. She also applied for a vacancy created by school director Lisa Bardole's resignation last August. The board appointed Gerald Frament to complete Bardole's term, which expires in May.

Comeau owns H & R Block franchises in Libby and Bonners Ferry and has three children in the school district.

Comeau believes her business background could benefit the district.

"I have the time now to be involved in something in the community and it's something I'm interested in," she said. "The kids are the future of Libby."

Wood, who served on the board for nine years, stepped down to avoid conflict now that her son-in-law, Libby Middle School teacher Scott Beagle, is applying for the principal's job at Asa Wood Elementary School. Principal Ken Foss will retire at the end of the school year.

A nepotism law makes hiring a school board member's relative more difficult.

If a relative applies for a job in the district, the board member must abstain from voting. The remaining board members then must unanimously agree on a "major hiring," like promoting a teacher to an administrator.

In most cases, board decisions only need a majority vote.