The Haines Borough School District Board of Education swore in two new members and one returning member last week following the recent municipal election in early October.

Incumbent school board member Kevin Shove and new members Mark Jamison and Kari Johnson joined the board at a special meeting on Thursday, Oct. 26.

In an interview Tuesday, superintendent Roy Getchell said having a mix of new and experienced members on the board “is an exciting thing.”

“These are all really good members and I’m really excited to work with them,” he said. “They’re all connected to our schools in different ways.”

Shove and Jamison were the only two candidates who filed in August to run for the three vacant positions open on the seven-member board. During the October election, both secured seats with Jamison receiving a total of 552 votes and Shove receiving 755 votes. Despite the two elected candidates, the board still faced a vacant position that needed to be filled.

During a special board meeting on Thursday, Oct. 26, the board received letters of interest from two candidates, Kari Johnson and Rebecca Hylton, seeking to fill the third vacant seat. Hylton withdrew from the race prior to the meeting after hearing that Johnson was also running.

During the meeting Thursday, Johnson was interviewed and later appointed as a new board member, alongside Jamison and Shove, who were sworn into their seats. Jamison and Shove will both serve a full three-year term, Johnson will only serve a one-year term because she was appointed, not elected. Johnson and Jamison replace the seats of outgoing members Anne Marie Palmieri and Shannon Dryden.

Current board members Shelly Sloper, Michael Wald and Brian Clay were elected as president, vice president and treasurer, respectively.

Johnson grew up in Haines and is a 1998 graduate of Haines High School. She moved away for around two decades but eventually moved back in 2019 with her young family. She is a former president and board member of the Chilkat Valley Preschool and a volunteer athletic trainer at the high school. She also has a background in community leadership roles, formerly serving as the executive director of the Southeast Alaska State Fair, and is a current member of the Tourism Advisory Board. She is a parent to two young children attending school in the district.

“I really just want to be involved and help out, and share my expertise with the district,” she said in an interview Tuesday. “My passion is the health and wellness of the students.”

In an interview on Monday, Hylton said she wasn’t planning this year, but did when she thought there weren’t any other candidates. When she heard that Johnson was in the running, she said she decided to back out of the race until next year.

Shove returns to his seat after first being elected to the board during the 2021 municipal election. He is a longtime resident of Haines and currently works as the store manager for Howsers IGA Supermarket on Main Street. He has two young children attending school in the district.

Jamison moved to Haines in 2021 with his wife and three children from California. He currently works for Alaska Power & Telephone and his three children attend school in the district. Jamison said he decided to run for the school board because he wanted to become more integrated into the community and to help the board continue the “positive growth” he’s seen in the district since arriving in the borough.

Getchell said the different experiences each candidate brings are critical to making sure the board is addressing the wide range of views held in the Haines community when it comes to education. He said he believes all members are united in that they all want to find what’s in the best interest of the students in the district.

“That’s so rare,” he said. “It’s a really phenomenal mix of people that I get to work with.”