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Vision is clear for school board
Vision is clear for school board
By TONY LANGE
The interview process to appoint a new member to the Solon Board of Education was just for show, according to former Mayor Robert A. Paulson, who was one of the 10 unsuccessful applicants.
"Naturally, whoever they appoint, they'll come out on the floor, and it'll probably be unanimous," he said May 6, five days before the application period ended.
Before the interview process began, Mr. Paulson said, "It will be John Heckman. He fits their collective vision of what they want in a board member. I'm not."
His predictions were correct.
While 11 candidates were interviewed, board members unanimously voted 4-0 May 17 to appoint Mr. Heckman to fill the vacancy left by 24-year board member Dorothy Seibert, who resigned May 1.
Mr. Heckman was sworn in Tuesday.
Solon citizens are very fortunate that the board received 11 solid, qualified candidates for the position, school board President Margo Morrow said. "The candidates were all good, but, basically, he was the best choice to be a really good fit, and he will work doubly hard," she said of Mr. Heckman. "He's very passionate, and he offers a great deal to Solon schools."
Mr. Heckman has 25 years of experience as an accountant and is vice president of finance at Kirtland Capital Partners in Beachwood.
He co-chaired Solon's strategic planning finance action team and was a member of the strategic planning committee. He has two sons in Solon schools.
Mr. Heckman said he was excited, grateful and humbled when he received a phone call from Mrs. Morrow, who told him he was appointed.
"I believe that all 11 individuals who were vying for that appointment had great credentials," he said. "So I'm grateful to the board for entrusting me with that position. I've been looking at the schools for awhile, and I'm just very exciting.
"The first thing as a new board member with any type of board, you're there to learn and to listen," Mr. Heckman said. "With my background, I believe it's always important to stay on top of the budget. I think that's important in any type of organization and especially in today's economy. Funding is always going to be an issue."
Board member Marilyn Thomas, who nominated Mr. Heckman for the appointment, said he continually shows interest in Solon schools.
"Sometimes one rises above, and he certainly did," Mrs. Thomas said. "I felt that way about Mr. Heckman. He's done so much and knows this community. He is the right fit."
All 11 candidates were asked the same questions by the same board members during 30-minute interviews, Mrs. Morrow said.
Mr. Heckman interviewed very well, said board member Kevin C. Patton, who seconded Mrs. Thomas' nomination motion.
"I would say he provided the very best interview of all the candidates," Mr. Patton said. "He attends just about every board meeting. He signed up for and paid for on his own an Ohio School Boards Association conference last year. He has certainly demonstrated a very active interest in the schools."
All the candidates did a wonderful job putting effort into the application and interviewing process, board member Julie S. Glavin said.
"I believe that John is well-rounded, he's a visionary, and we just feel he's going to be a great fit for the board and that he will have the best interest of the city of Solon, for our students and for the school district," she said.
John Heckman is a good guy, Mr. Paulson said. "John is qualified and seems like a good guy. He and I share many of the same views."
Mr. Heckman and Mr. Paulson were among four of the 11 candidates who ran unsuccessfully for seats on the school board in last November's election.
Mr. Paulson received 2,517 votes to finish just behind Mrs. Seibert for the third and final seat up for election, while Mr. Heckman received 1,906 votes.
In the closing paragraph of his letter of intent to the board members, Mr. Paulson wrote, "I do not know what else I have to do demonstrate that I am the best choice to fill this unexpired term. Based on the results of the last two elections, I would hope you will agree that the voters of this district would feel the same way."
On the same day that Mr. Paulson submitted his letter, May 4, Mrs. Morrow said the Ohio Revised Code does not state that board members need to go back to a prior election when considering an appointed position.
"That's when I knew they were going to pick John," Mr. Paulson said.
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