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Pine-Richland welcomes new board member

| Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013, 2:48 p.m.
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Pine-Richland solicitor Patrick Claire reads the oath to school directors Dr. Jeffrey Banyas, Holly Johnston, Katie Shogan, Marc Casciani and Dennis Sundo at the Dec. 2 re-organizational meeting. Johnston is the only new member, replacing Steve Hawbaker of Pine-Richland Region 3.

Meet Holly Johnston, the newest member of the Pine-Richland School Board.

Johnston ran a successful write-in campaign, receiving 44 votes in the Nov. 5 general election, to fill the vacant seat in Pine-Richland's Region 3.

She replaced Steven Hawbaker, who retired from the board after 12 years of service.

She was officially sworn in at the Dec. 2 school board re-organizational meeting, along with returning school directors Dr. Jeffrey Banyas, Katie Shogan, Marc Casciani and Dennis Sundo.

The 42-year-old mother of two joined the board wanting to ensure there was suitable representation from her region of Pine-Richland after Hawbaker left.

“I want the best decisions, so my kids can have the best quality of education,” she said.

Johnston has lived in Richland for six years with husband, Jeff, and children, fourth-grader Ashley, and first-grader Evan.

She's on the board of the Richland Swim Club and is on the architectural committee in her neighborhood.

She also spends a great deal of time as a parent volunteer at Richland Elementary and Eden Hall Upper Elementary, where her children attend school.

School director Laura Ohlund said Johnston is well informed on the current issues and initiatives the board faces and will represent the entire district well.

Ohlund said the board extends a warm welcome to Johnston and looks forward to working with her in the continuous process of establishing and achieving its strategic goals.

“Her dedicated presence in the community and schools, along with her strong sense of fiscal responsibility, will make her an excellent asset to the team,” she said.

Johnston received a marketing degree from La Roche College and worked as supervising sales representative for Edy's Ice Cream for 10 years before having children.

She works as an independent sales consultant for Thirty-One.

As a parent, she's committed to advocating for the children, and hopes to stay consistent with the board's goals.

“I like the direction the board is moving in, and I'm excited to work with Dr. Miller,” Johnston said of her hopes for her time on the board.

“I'm just here to look after the kids.”

Also at the Dec. 2 re-organizational meeting, Peter Lyons was re-elected to board president and Banyas was re-elected to vice president.

Looking ahead, the board's finance committee will begin discussions about the 2013-2014 budget at their meeting 6 p.m. Dec. 16.

Rachel Farkas is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-779-6902 or rfarkas@tribweb.com.

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