The Bethlehem Area School District Board of Directors Monday evening formally inducted four members into its ranks, two of whom are new to the board. The board also interviewed four local men to fill a ninth board-appointed seat.
Temporary Board President, Eugene McKeon, swore in new board members Angela T. Sinkler of Fountain Hill and Rogilio Ortiz of South Bethlehem to four-year terms. He also administered oaths to the reelected Michael Faccinetto and Shannon Patrick, who assumed the new at-large seat on the board.
Almost immediately after being sworn in, Faccinetto and Patrick were elected the new president and vice president of the school board, respectively, by their colleagues.
Sinkler is a cardiac unit nurse with Lehigh Valley Hospital in Salisbury Township and has served as a volunteer at Fountain Hill Elementary School. Although a graduate of both the former St. Ursula Parochial School of Fountain Hill and Bethlehem Catholic
High School, Sinkler is a proponent of public school education. She and her husband Edward, a Southern Lehigh High School Biology teacher, have one daughter who presently attends Liberty High School In Bethlehem.
"Great schools make a great community", commented Sinkler, who also noted her daughter finds attending public school a positive experience.
Ortiz of South Bethlehem, replaces Auerea Ortiz, the first-ever Latina woman on the board, who vacated her seat at the end of last month. Ortiz of South Bethlehem and Auerea Ortiz are not related, though they share the same last name.
Ortiz of South Bethlehem and his wife Rosario have five children and run Bethlehem's Lynfield House, a community outreach center, on South Terrace.
"I've always been involved in my community", stated Ortiz, referring to his serving as a coach for the past five years for Bethlehem's Southside Little League. He continued, "It's all about giving back to the kids."
Ortiz said he plans to use community centers like the Lynfield House as supplemental outreaches for students when school programs are cutback or eliminated completely.
In other business, the school directors publicly interviewed four prospective candidates from Hanover Township to fill, by their appointment, a Region 2 vacancy on the board. The school directors will vote in the replacement at their next regularly scheduled meeting on December 9th.
The interviewees included retirees Russell D'Entrone, a former Federal Bureau of Investigation agent, and Randolph Toman, who previously worked as a manufacturer's representative in the construction industry.
Also questioned by each of the directors were Jason Fetterman, an electrical engineer, and Craig Neiman, a financial accountant both employed by Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. of Trexlertown.
Fetterman and Neiman both have children currently enrolled in Bethlehem public schools.