The Hickman Mills school board now has new leadership and two new directors.
Longtime member Darrell Curls has been named the new board president, and Carol Graves, in her first term on the board, is serving as vice president.
Curls replaced Shawn C. Kirkwood, who resigned under community pressure nearly two weeks ago. Kirkwood was on the board even though he’d lost the election in April. The district swore him in anyway. Kirkwood was beaten by eight votes by Evelyn Hildebrand, but the district denied her a seat on the board when it learned she had several years of unpaid personal property taxes.
A judge later ruled that Hildebrand should have been certified for the board seat based on the outcome of the public election. Hildebrand said she has now paid the more than $5,000 in taxes.
So on Oct. 20, Hildebrand was sworn in to take her seat on the board. At the same meeting, the board appointed Wakisha Briggs to fill the unexpired term left by the resignation of Dan Osman, who gave up his seat after moving out of the state, which made him unqualified to serve the south Kansas City school district.
Briggs, who is the director of continuing education at Park University and CEO of Bridge Leadership Academy Inc. in the Hickman Mills School District, was one of three applicants interviewed by the school board to fill Osman’s vacant seat.
“With the termination of the distractions associated with board membership litigation and the filling of an unexpired term complete, we can now concentrate all of our energies on improving the educational experiences of the children of HMC-1,” Superintendent Dennis Carpenter said in a statement.
“It is refreshing to have a full complement of board of directors in place who are ready to move forward with the important work of educating the children of Hickman Mills.”