Holden named school board chair

Heading into a new budget season, the Board of Education last week elected new officers, choosing Republican Mark Holden as chairman of the nine-member board.

Holden, who was elected to the Board of Education last November, received unanimous support after being nominated.

He is past chair of the Board of Apportionment and Taxation, as well as vice president of an insurance company. Holden is involved with several other organizations, including The Birmingham Group, and serves as president of the Booth Memorial Astronomical Society. Board member Thomas Minotti nominated Holden, saying he would help move the board forward.

“He has shown he is trustworthy, conscientious, dedicated, and has a demonstrated passion toward the education of our students,” Minotti said.

Republican Win Oppel decided not to run for chair again, because business and personal obligations will be taking up more of his time, he said.

Holden thanked Oppel for his efforts to include all board members and for his honesty and commitment.

“I’ve been forewarned the job will take up a great deal of time,” Holden said. “I strive to be an easy guy to work with. I try to keep my eyes on the big goal.”

Holden expressed a desire that all four Democrats and five Republicans on the board can work together, citing his past chairman experience on the tax board.

“The people who made things happen were able to put aside differences and work as a team,” Holden said.

He also encouraged fellow board members to attend Lighthouse board retreats, which is professional development for board members, he said. He asked that those who have never attended Lighthouse try it out, before deciding it is not worth their time.

The board elected Minotti as vice chairman and Democrat Arlene Liscinsky as board secretary.

The board is starting work on the next year’s budget.

“It will be a challenging year,” Holden said. “But my goal is that all of you will be able to look back on it with a sense of pride and accomplishment.”

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