By Chris Maza
LONGMEADOW – At a joint meeting of the Select Board and the School Committee, Michelle Grodsky was voted as the newest member of the School Committee on March 18.
Grodsky received eight of the votes of 10 members of the two governing bodies present at the meeting and will fill the vacancy created by the abrupt resignation of former School Committee Vice Chair James Desrochers in February.
“I’m really excited,” she said. “It was a tough process and there were some really great candidates. I am honored and I’m really excited to be able to serve on the committee. I grew up here and my mom grew up here and my husband grew up here, so I’m really excited to be able to give back to the town in this way.”
A Longmeadow High School graduate, Grodsky has three children, with her family’s neighborhood school being Blueberry Hill School.
Grodsky added that she would be running for re-election in the 2014 Annual Town Election in June.
“I’ve turned in my [nomination] papers. You’ll see me out there campaigning and you’ll see my kids out there too. They’re really excited for this, so I can’t wait to go and tell them,” she said.
The creation of a vacancy so close to an election posed a unique situation to the School Committee, who were asked by the Select Board whether they wished to fill the slot or simply wait.
The School Committee voted to fill Desrochers’ seat prior to the election in order to take the burden off the existing members currently filling his roles on the various sub-committees and to prevent a voting deadlock that could result from a six-member board.
“It was unique because everybody who was applying has to run [for the three-year term],” School Committee Chair Michael Clark said. “But I think it’s going to be beneficial going through budget to have a fully staffed board. Even though we haven’t seen the same sort of circumstances as last year or the same need for a call to action, but it is nice to have another person who can go and communicate our position on things.”
Grodsky said that in spite of the unusual circumstances in having to simultaneously interview for the interim position and prepare a campaign for a permanent seat, she felt the time was right to get involved.
“For me, it was the fact that my children were finally at an age where I could manage doing something like this with that much of a time commitment while still balancing my family life,” she said.
Grodsky was sworn in on March 19 and will serve at her first meeting on March 24.