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Lisa Hedin voted in as new chair of school board

Lisa Hedin was unanimously voted as chair of the Hastings District 200 School Board on Jan. 4, after Vince O'Brien withdrew from the board. O'Brien, who was in the middle of his elected term as chair, stepped down after accepting the executive director position at the Colorado Continuing Legal Education. O'Brien plans to move to Colorado at the end of this month.

Hedin has served on the school board since 2012 but she has a background in civil engineering. She worked for 19 years in St. Paul for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers until she resigned in order to stay home with her two children. Having always worked in the public sector, Hedin said she missed the public mission focus. When she became involved with the school board, she found it was a great fit.

"It's been really good, I think public service is very important," Hedin said.

In addition to her commitment to the school board, Hedin volunteers in the school district. When her kids attended elementary school, she would volunteer in the classroom, helping run a math unit or supervise recess. She eventually got on the substitute teacher list and spent some time serving on the parent groups at McAuliffe and Pinecrest.

Hedin has been involved with the Junior Achievement programs, has worked in the media center in the schools and has volunteered with the music program. The extra programs are important, Hedin said, because some kids might connect better with those programs than in a regular classroom.

"I think it's those supplemental (programs) that can really engage some kids who might not be engaged in school otherwise," Hedin said.

Since Hedin was voted chair of the board this month, she hasn't had much time to think about future goals. However, she said she does have some hopes.

"At this point, I'd like us to have a smooth transition, make a solid selection; we'll go through a process of identifying and selecting a seventh board member and I want that to be sound," Hedin said.

In addition, Hedin would like to assure that Vision 2025 stays strong, she said. O'Brien championed that particular initiative and Hedin said she would like to keep that positive focus on the schools.

As for the future of the school district, Hedin said she thinks it faces a lot of the same challenges that so many other districts face. One of the primary questions the district is asking is, how do we maintain an excellent school system in a community that's aging and a school age population that is declining? However, Hedin said she thinks District 200 has a good foundation, such as a solid staff, good facilities and good partners.

"I anticipate that we're going to continue to see Hastings as a community change...and those will be things that will be a little tricky but are well within our capacity to manage," Hedin said.

Michelle Wirth

Michelle Wirth graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in 2013 with a degree in journalism and web design. She worked as a web content editor for a trade association before coming to the Hastings Star Gazette in 2016.

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