Vacancy opens on TPS board with Oren departure

Tecumseh Public School trustee Matt Oren announced Thursday, May 30, that he was vacating his seat on the school board effective immediately. “Tuesday night was my last meeting,” said Oren, referring to the meeting of the board that was postponed by one day due to the Memorial Day holiday.Oren said that he and his wife Pam, who will be leaving her post with the school district as an advocate for homeless students, will be leaving Tecumseh Friday, May 31. Their destination is Oklahoma, where they will be helping people in the area of Moore, which was recently struck by an EF 5 tornado, the most powerful category, killing 24 people and wreaking devastation in a wide swath of destroyed homes, schools, and a hospital.Oren said that he has been in communication with pastor Tom Hawkins of the NewSong Church, which recently conducted a collection of relief supplies and money to help the survivors of the tornado. Hawkins has just returned from taking the supplies to be distributed in Oklahoma.The Tecumseh School Board will be seeking an interim replacement to fill Oren’s seat on the board. Typically, boards announce that a seat is vacant and ask for applicants. The next election for the permanent replacement for Oren will not be until November 2014. Terms for the board formerly were for four years, but with the change to an election cycle of every other year, the Tecumseh board decided to extend the length of terms to six years.Oren said that after he and his wife have done what they can for the Oklahoma tornado survivors, they will be traveling around the country for several weeks.“In the meantime, we will be waiting for word from the Peace Corps,” he said. “We are hoping to get placed together somewhere in Central or South America, but we don’t have final say on where we will be going.”Both Oren and his wife are conversant in Spanish, but he said that the Peace Corps sends its personnel where they are needed most. “We’re actually a little hard to place,” he said. “Most of the people going into the Peace Corps are young and single. Pam and I are neither, and we want to be posted together. We’ll just have to wait and see what they come up with for us.”“It comes as a complete surprise to me,” said Jim Rice, vice president of the school board when he learned about Oren’s decision to vacate his seat. “He was a valuable member of the board and a voice of reason. We certainly wish him well in whatever he chooses to do in the future.” Rice said that the board has been confronted with abrupt vacancies in the past and will be able to deal with the situation. “We will be looking for a good replacement,” he said. “When we find one, the board has the authority to appoint him or her to the position.”Oren said that he feels that the school district is in good hands. “I have complete confidence that my colleagues will find a good replacement for me,” Oren said. “I feel that the district is headed in the right direction with Kelly [Dr. Kelly Coffin, the newly-hired superintendent, who will be replacing Supt. Mike McAran July 1]. She is young and innovative, and I think she will lead Tecumseh schools into the next era.”

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