(Updated 8:15 p.m.) NORRISTOWN — Two months after the vacancy opened up, Montgomery County Court Judge Bernard A. Moore granted Clinton Jackson’s petition to fill the Spring-Ford Area School Board’s empty Region II seat.
Jackson was chosen over Janet Stokes, whose petition was denied, according to court documents filed Wednesday.
The school board was deadlocked 4-4 between the two candidates, sending the matter to county court.
The decision came less than 24 hours after Moore heard testimony from the two candidates.
A message left at Moore’s office Wednesday seeking to discuss the decision was not returned.
Tuesday’s hearing involved both sides making the case of why they wished to serve on the school board with some prompts by Moore or attorney Frank Bartle, representing Jackson.
“I want to be a part of building the foundation. I want to be a part of that building block and guide the district where it needs to go,” Jackson said during the hearing. “I’m a problem-solver. I like being involved in the community ... It’s my community. I want to help build the school district.”
Jackson could not be reached Wednesday for comment on his appointment.
A senior project manager with Jacobs Engineering, Jackson has advocated the expansion of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) courses in Spring-Ford along with approaching local business to form partnerships and “co-ops” for learning opportunities.
Stokes was a member of the Spring-Ford Area School Board from 1997 to 2005. As in her interviews before the board, Stokes testified she hoped to add more “rigor” to the school district’s curriculum.
“I offer my congratulations to Mr. Jackson and hope he works hard to move the district forward,” Stokes said Wednesday.
Board members Todd Wolf, Mark Dehnert, Kelly Spletzer and Will Cromley voted in favor of Jackson in all three votes while Joe Ciresi, Tom DiBello, Dawn Heine and Bernard Pettit backed Stokes each time.
“I welcome (Jackson). I look forward to working with him,” Ciresi, the board’s president, said Wednesday. “We’re all on board. I said all along, ‘Whoever they want, it is what it is.’”
Ciresi said he hopes Jackson won’t hold it against him or the other board members who voted against him so they can move forward together in the district.
When asked if she might look to work with the district moving forward, Stokes said, “If the opportunity arises.”
The seat opened up as a result of Julie Mullin’s election to Upper Providence’s tax collector position in November, which she said she did as a way to help the school district from the outside after some alleged issues with the former tax collector’s work.
Since she took that position Jan. 6, she had to resign the school board seat.
The Spring-Ford Area School Board meets next on March 17, when Jackson is expected to be sworn in.
EARLIER VERSION OF STORY
NORRISTOWN — The empty Region II seat on the Spring-Ford Area School Board has been filled by Clinton Jackson.
Montgomery County Judge Bernard A. Moore granted Jackson’s vacancy petition Wednesday and denied Janet Stokes’ petition, according to court documents.
Moore made his decision less than a day after hearing testimony from both candidates.
In three separate votes, the school board tied 4-4 on Jackson and Stokes, the two finalists out of four originally interviewed for the position.
Check back for a full story shortly.