The City of Tonawanda Board of Education returned to seven members Tuesday night, as the board selected Danielle Opalinski to fill a vacant seat at its regular meeting in Tonawanda High/Middle School.
Opalinski will serve in a temporary capacity until the next board election May 23.
There will be three open seats on the ballot, as the terms of Jackie Smilinich and Demelt Shaw are also set to expire.
The board received letters of interest from 11 candidates for the vacant seat. The board interviewed four candidates, all former board members, before selecting Opalinski. She had served previously on a temporary basis, after she was chosen to fill another vacant seat for three months in 2011.
Smilinich, board president, said board members decided to consider only former board candidates for the latest vacancy because their experience would be essential during a busy three months.
She declined to elaborate on what qualities Opalinski possessed that made her stand out, saying only that the choice was based on a consensus of the board.
The seat became vacant when board member Lynn Casal abruptly resigned during a meeting in January.
Casal objected to the hiring of new Superintendent James Newton, calling him a candidate “with the least amount of experience for the job.”
“The whole process was a waste of our time and the district’s money,” Casal wrote in her resignation letter.
After Opalinski previously served on a temporary basis on the board, she ran for election but lost.
A stay-at-home mother, Opalinski said she is still thinking about whether she wants to run in May.