President Rev. Charles Poole to Step Down After 22 Years on Muskegon’s Board of Education

Andrew Trzaska | November 15, 2011

After serving 22 years on the Muskegon Public Schools Board of Education, chairman and president Rev. Charles Poole will step down after December’s full board meeting.

Poole publicly announced his decision at Tuesday’s full board meeting.

This announcement comes barely a week after Poole winning re-election of a four-year term.

Other board members and staff spoke highly of Poole at Wednesday’s meeting and expressed their feelings on the announcement.

Administrator and recent interim superintendent Betty Savage lauded Poole’s temperament: “He has been a calm force.”

“It’s a shock,” said board member Louis Churchwell, who went on to ask about next steps the board would have to take to fill Poole’s vacancy.

Superintendent Jon Felske indicated that the district would need to post the vacancy and solicit candidates to fill the seat. Then, the remaining board members would need to hold an interview will all candidates who came forward before an appointment is made.

Rev. Poole advocated for departing board member Earl “Bill” O’Brien to fill the vacancy in his comments Tuesday.  O’Brien recently lost reelection, coming third in a field of four candidates vying for two seats.

“We have some wonderful people on this board, and there always have been… Bill is needed at this time in ways many don’t even realize,” said Poole.  “With all kinds of decisions where you need stability on the board, his contributions to those decisions are always very, very important.”

The last seat on the board to be filled by appointment was that of Lynnette Marks in March of 2010.  Marks filled the seat vacated by Kevin Donovan and served under a year before winning reelection this November.

Poole’s eventual replacement may not serve the full four years he recently won reelection for.  Recently passed State House Bill 4005 and Senate Bill 427 both dictate that school board elections must now happen in November of even-numbered years. This provision will take effect on January 1, 2012 if signed by Governor Snyder.

While the board of education just realigned its board election terms and moved elections from May to November in the past year, Felske indicated HB 4005 and SB 427 would require the district to again change term lengths and election dates.

Andrew Trzaska

103.7 “The Beat” – local government beat reporter and political analyst