FOUNTAIN LAKE -- Members of the Fountain Lake School Board appointed a father of seven in a family relatively new to the community to fill a vacant seat left by the former president.
Daniel LaMontagne, senior director of land asset management for Weyerhaeuser, was appointed Thursday in a special meeting to an at-large seat. He was one of five applicants the board interviewed for the vacancy.
"I was very excited about the level of interest and quality of people that came forward to serve in this capacity," said Fountain Lake School District Superintendent Michael Murphy. "Dan will be a great addition to our board with his prior work experiences, educational background and being a father of seven children in our schools."
Former President Greg Frank resigned from the board at the conclusion of the regular meeting on Sept. 14. He underwent open heart surgery shortly after filing for re-election in July.
Frank and Sheila Ford were unopposed in the annual school election this month. Fountain Lake board members serve in at-large seats for three-year terms. Frank had served on the board since 2011 and was seeking a third term.
The candidates were interviewed in open session during Thursday's meeting. The other applicants were Colin Cameron, change board chairman for Dassault Falcon Jet in Little Rock; Alex Dykes, a former Lake Hamilton teacher and now financial director for the Arkansas Future Farmers of America Association; Bryan Lambert, Hot Springs Village agent for Advantage Title & Escrow; and Lloyd Little, a retiree with 35 years of experience in education, including 25 years as a superintendent.
"They were all just fabulous candidates," LaMontagne said. "I think the biggest thing that came across to me is everyone recognized we have a school district that is in a phase of necessary growth. It is an exciting, albeit challenging, opportunity.
"I think the community as a whole is represented by those who were there and speaking of their qualifications, recognizing we are blessed with a fabulous education system here. We are blessed with the challenge of having to figure out how to grow that."
Appointees serve until the next school election and 2017 is the final year school ballots will be held in September. A new state law gives districts the option to hold their elections with the primaries in May or during the general election in November.
Murphy said board members previously indicated they will prefer a spring election. LaMontagne will have to file for re-election to serve beyond May and fulfill the final two years of the term.
LaMontagne completed his bachelor's at the University of Maine in Orono and Thomas College in Waterville, Maine. He has been with Weyerhaeuser and Plum Creek Timber Company for a combined 19 years.
Weyerhaeuser and Plum Creek completed a merger in early 2016. LaMontagne and his family relocated to Fountain Lake later that summer.
"I have reached a point in my life where I've got the opportunity to give back," LaMontagne said. "Regardless of the location where we may or may not go with the company, I have seven kids in the school district.
"It is a way to give back to my community and is also a way to continue to pour into my kids and the other kids in the community. This just seemed like a great opportunity to do that and assemble the myriad of skills I have had the opportunity to hone over the years and contribute those in a way that can benefit others."
LaMontagne's children are enrolled in each school on the Fountain Lake campus. He said he has served on nonprofit and company boards and committees, but never in a public role.
"I get to serve with folks who have served for a number of years, in many cases," LaMontagne said. "Learning from them is something I am looking forward to.
"I am also really looking forward to the communication and the relationship aspect of the role of a board member, as well as engaging with my community, engaging with those around and other stakeholders, engaging with the superintendent to understand his vision and his achievements to advance the vision of the district."Local on 09/30/2017
Print Headline: FLSD appoints board member