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Four seek Area 4 school board seat

by Christy Chalmers

Four people have applied for Douglas County’s Area 4 school board seat.

The six current members of the school board are scheduled to choose a new member Wednesday during a special meeting.

The applicants are Stacey Francois, Brian Chandler, Keith Hellwinkel and John Louritt. All live in the Gardnerville Ranchos.

Louritt ran unsuccessfully for election to the board. Randy Green, a government teacher at Douglas High School, won the seat but a judge ruled Green could not take office and continue teaching.

“Due to the extenuating circumstances, I am absolutely thrilled to have another chance to become a board member,” Louritt wrote in his application letter.

Francois, Chandler and Hellwinkel cited different qualifications.

Francois holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a minor in education. She also has been a substitute teacher at all of Douglas County’s elementary schools.

“I believe my familiarity with the individual schools would allow me a unique perspective when discussing issues involving Douglas County schools,” she wrote. “I believe that finding a common voice on the sometimes-divisive nature of the county’s school competencies is important, and I would like to be a part of that.”

Chandler, who works at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe, said he has school-age children and understands teaching philosophies.

“I do well not to judge people and have a good ear for listening to ideas and concerns, which allows me to make good decisions that I can stand behind,” he wrote. “I have many ideas that I could bring to the table that may help our schools become more interesting and more successful.”

Hellwinkel, who has two school-age daughters and a third to start next year, cited 20 years of experience operating his own business.

“This experience will give me the problem-solving, common-sense type of skills, not to mention budgeting experience, that would benefit the school board,” he wrote. “I am a positive person who thinks things through and feel this could be an asset to the board.”

The new member’s appointment will last through 2002. To complete the full term, which expires in 2004, the member will have to run in the 2002 general election.

Douglas County school board members make $80 to $85 per meeting, depending on their duties. The clerk and president can make a maximum of $510 per month. The others are limited to $480.

The selection meeting will be held Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. at Carson Valley Middle School, 1477 Highway 395, Gardnerville.

What: Special Douglas County school board meeting to choose a new Area 4 trustee

When: Wednesday, 3:30 p.m.

Where: Carson Valley Middle School, 1477 Highway 395, Gardnerville