Brownstown council fills school board seat


The newest member of the Brownstown Central school board wants to help the corporation and its students take advantage of new technology and bring more transparency to the board.

“I really look forward to bringing a new approach to the school board,” Brian Wheeler said just minutes after the town council voted 3-1 to make him one of their two appointments to the seven-member board. Councilwoman Sharon Koch voted against the decision.

“Obviously having experience as a former educator myself and having experience on the county council with budgets brings something to moving the corporation forward,” he said.

Wheeler, one of five Brownstown residents vying for the seat, replaces Mary Ann Spray. The other candidates were Spray, Adam Nicholson, Jon Robison and Rhonda Fountain.

Spray’s seat expires June 30. She has been on the board since 2003, including serving as president since 2013. Wheeler also will fill her seat on the town’s park board.

Wheeler initially was drawn to the community when he landed a job teaching fourth graders at Brownstown Elementary School. He now works in purchasing for Brownstown Electric Supply.

Wheeler said he would like to work toward becoming a STEM-certified school. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and math.

“…and I would love to get the corporation to being one-to-one technology-wise,” he said. “I think that’s really an area where we really need to focus on improving and really tie that into what REMC is doing with Jackson Connect.

“It’s going to open up a lot of doors to our community,” he added. “We need to take advantage of that.”

Jackson Connect is an initiative to bring fiber-optic internet to rural areas in Jackson County REMC’s service area.

Wheeler said the board needs to be more transparent and one way to do that is to be out and about at events in the community.

“Whether it be plays or sporting events or what have you,” he said.

As part of that transparency, Wheeler said he has no issues with attending the council’s monthly department head meeting to give reports about school board happenings.

“They want to know what’s going on and they want to know what their appointees are doing,” Wheeler said. “We need to know what the town’s doing and they need to know what the school board is planning.”

He also said school security is very important.

“You have to make sure your schools are secure and safe,” Wheeler said.

Wheeler also spent seven years on the Brownstown Baseball Association board, serving as president and treasurer for four years.

Lawson thanked all of the candidates for their interest in the seat and reminded them that the town’s other appointed seat will expire on June 30, 2020.

“If your interested come back next year and we would love to revisit all the information that we can,” she said.

Councilman Gary Drake said it was a very hard decision to make.

“All the candidates were very qualified,” he said.

Drake said he appreciated all of the candidates’ interest and passion in applying for the position.

“Obviously, as I’ve said before, we would love to have you all, but that’s not possible,” he said.

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