The Greenfield School Board ushered in a new guard as three new members begin their terms Monday.
Russ Spahn, Cathy Walsh and Len Cich were sworn in and gave brief remarks before the board began deliberating official business on its meeting agenda.
"Together we are facing a huge task ... to give our students the best opportunity to compete in this unstable economy. I think with the additional help from parents and volunteers, we can achieve that goal," Cich said. "Failure to accomplish this is not an option."
Spahn retired as the City of Greenfield’s fire chief June 1, after spending 30 years with the department and nine years with the city’s Division of Public Works.
"During my tenure on the board, my focus and concern will always fall back to what is best for our students," Spahn said. "With that focus in mind, I will balance the needs of our teachers, administration and staff with the concerns of our citizens and taxpayers to provide the best educational opportunities for our students."
Walsh, an 18-year school board veteran, reclaimed a seat on the board during this month's election after a two-year hiatus.
"I'm back," she said during her statement. Later she described herself as anxious, but excited to get started tackling the school district's challenges.
"I enjoy it. I am a really intense person and feel that if things can be improved, I like to be part of it," she said. "You can sit in the audience and complain or do something about it."
The three replaced Rick Moze who was defeated during the April election as well as Julie Rome and Audrey Ellison, both of whom choose not to run for reelection.
"First, I want to thank my husband, who is not here. That is all I am going to say about that," said Ellison to laughs.
Ellison, who served on the board for 16 years, indicated that her most proud moments included the work she did to ensure an anti-bullying policy was in place and working on the Lead The Way program at Greenfield High and Middle School.
"I want this time to thank you for your support in allowing me the privilege to serve you and your children. It's been both a privilege and an honor," she added.
The meeting was briefly recessed for a reception. Community and board members mingled with district administration and lawmakers State Senator Mary Lazich, assembly members Jeff Stone, Mike Kuglitsch and Peggy Krusick and county supervisor Mark Borkowski over cake.
"I will still be involved. I believe in the Greenfield community and district," Moze said.
Later during the meeting, Bruce Bailey was reelected as board president and Pam Sierzchulski was reelected as vice-president. Walsh was elected board clerk and Don Carlson was election board treasurer.
School board members make $4,200 annually.