TOWANDA - At its meeting this week, the Towanda School Board appointed parent Brooks Greenland to fill a vacant seat on the school board.

Greenland, a Towanda High School graduate, has been serving as the treasurer of the parent-teachers organization (PTO) for Towanda's elementary and primary schools, and she also serves on the board of directors of directors of the Towanda Little League.

Greenland was one of three candidates who were vying for the school board seat, which represents Region II of the school district.

The other two candidates were the Rev. W. Thomas Blackall, who had served in the past for over 20 years on the school board, and Frank J. Bertrand, who had been a lieutenant colonel in the military, a farmer, a case worker for the Department of Public Welfare, and who is now an appraiser of real estate.

The vacancy on the school board resulted from the death on Oct. 23 of Pete Alesky Jr., who had been serving as the school board's president.

The eight remaining members of the school board voted unanimously Monday to appoint Greenland to the school board seat. She has been appointed to serve on the school board through the end of 2013.

School board members cited her involvement with her children's education and the enthusiasm she brings to the projects she is involved with.

School board member Peggi Munkittrick said she was looking for someone who would bring a fresh perspective to the board.

"She does that," Munkittrick said. "She has children in the (school) system. Most of us have grown children."

At a special meeting of the school board on Monday, the three candidates were interviewed separately by the school board.

During the interviews, Superintendent Steven Gobble asked each candidate the same set of 10 questions, such as why they were interested in serving on the school board, how the school district could improve the academic performance of students, and what they saw as the challenges facing the school district.

Immediately after the interviews, the school board took a non-binding straw poll of which candidate they preferred. Greenland won the straw poll.

The school board then discussed the three candidates, after which the board officially voted to appoint Greenland to the school board.

Greenland has one child at each of the school district's three schools. Her father-in-law, John Greenland, had served on the school board in the past.

If Greenland wishes to remain on the school board after 2013, she will need to stand for election in 2013.

At their meeting on Monday, the school board also increased the pay of substitute teachers and teachers' aides.

The board voted to increase the daily base pay for substitute teachers from $75 to $85, effective immediately.

As an incentive, substitute teachers will also receive the following additional payment at the end of each school year, based on how many days they had worked that school year:

- 20-40 days worked: $5 per day

- 41-90 days worked: $10 per day

- 91 days and over worked: $15 per day

The pay for substitutes for support staff, including teachers' aides, custodial and cafeteria workers, and secretaries, was increased from $7.25 per hour to $9.00 per hour.

At the beginning of Monday's meeting, school board Vice-President Robert Fetterman asked those at the meeting to observe a moment of silence for Alesky.

"We'll all miss Pete," Fetterman said. "He certainly was passionate about serving on the school board."

James Loewenstein can be reached at (570) 265-1633; or email: jloewenstein@thedailyreview.com.