Three Vie for Vacated Douglas School Board Seat |

Three Vie for Vacated Douglas School Board Seat

John Sammon

MINDEN – Three candidates filed applications to fill the Douglas County School Board seat vacated by Mary Bennington last month.

Bennington, a five-year member of the board and its former president, announced last month she was leaving because she and her husband were moving to the Foothills area. Bennington, 40, is a realtor with Myers Realty in Gardnerville.

The District 3 seat represents the south part of Lake Tahoe and Kingsbury Grade.

George Echan, a Zephyr Cove attorney, applied for the position, as did Douglas Smith, an employee of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency in the environmental compliance division. A third candidate is Shelby Kolstad, a Zepyhr Cove resident active in a local parents-students organization.

The three candidates were requested to respond in writing to four general questions on why they were interested in becoming a member of the Douglas School Board. Copies of the responses will be given to board members.

Kolstad could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Echan, 52, has served as a past president of the Tahoe-Douglas Chamber of Commerce.

“I’ve always believed there is an obligation to prepare kids for life challenges,” he said. “My son is 16 and a student at Whittell High School (Zephyr Cove). He came up through the Douglas County school system, so I think I’ve got something to give back. I’ve had a good working relationship with schools.”

Smith, 35, has a geology background and has taught at Lake Tahoe Community College in addition to tutoring. He has a child in kindergarten in the Douglas School District. Smith said he would like to see enhanced communication between parents groups and the board.

“I would be acting on behalf of concerned parents,” he said.

Appointment of Bennington’s replacement could come after interviews with the three during a Douglas School Board meeting on June 24.

The individual appointed to fill the seat would serve the remainder of Bennington’s term until the next general election in November of 2000, at which time the person could stand for election to a four-year term. There are seven members on the Douglas School Board.

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