The Fort Smith Public Schools Board of Education voted five to one to appoint Susan Krafft to the Zone III board vacancy during a special called board meeting Wednesday (July 12). The position was left vacant when Dee Blackwell resigned June 19, citing family health challenges.
Krafft will have the ability to run for election in the March 5 school elections.
At its regular board meeting June 19, the school board decided to advertise for the vacancy. The board agreed to accept resumes and cover letters from those in Zone III who wish to serve on the board, and then chose from those a person to appoint to the position.
According to state law, the board has 30 days to appoint someone to fill the seat. The board had until July 18 to choose a person for the position or the Sebastian County Quorum Court would appoint someone.
Twelve Fort Smith residents applied for the position. Of those 12, three were determined to not live in Zone III. On Tuesday the school board discussed narrowing the field from nine to four by ranking their first through fourth choices, asking those candidates a question or questions and allowing them to answer via video link that would be made open to the public prior to the board’s regularly scheduled July meeting Monday (July 17), when they would vote on who should be appointed to the position.
However, once all board members ranked the candidates and gave their top four, Krafft was the favorite with three board members ranking her as their first choice, two ranking her as their second choice and all board members ranking her in their top four. No other applicant was ranked by all board members.
In light of that, Board Vice President Talicia Richardson moved that Krafft be appointed to fill the vacancy left by Blackwell. Board Member Sandy Dixon seconded the motion, and it passed by a vote of five to one with Phil Whitaker voting against the motion. Whitaker favored allowing the top four candidates to go through the video interview process before making a decision.
In her application, Krafft, who is executive director of the Babb Center for Career Services at the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith, said communication, leadership, teamwork, compassion, and community service were the areas she believes she is skilled and experienced and which will allow her to contribute to the board.
“I have always been drawn to serve – to give my time and talent where I can make a difference. As I have said many times, Fort Smith is the community that raised me, and I feel it is my obligation and responsibility to give back where I can. Since I haven’t won the lottery yet, giving of my time, skills, and talent is the best way for me to contribute,” Krafft said.