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St. Helens school board fills vacancy

Retired teacher Bill Amos appointed to seat

Photo Credit: MARK MILLER - Bill Amos addresses the St. Helens School District board of directors during his interview Wednesday, Feb. 11. He was appointed to the vacant seat on the board over fellow finalist Trinity Monaghan (not pictured) by a unanimous board vote.The board of directors for the St. Helens School District will be back at full strength next meeting after appointing Bill Amos from among eight applicants for the school board seat vacated last month by Marshall Porter.

Amos, who lives in Columbia City, is a retired teacher with a background in construction. He is a former St. Helens planning commissioner.

The board voted unanimously to appoint Amos to fill out Porter’s term, which expires in June, after interviewing him and another finalist for the position, parole officer Trinity Monahan, at a work session Wednesday, Feb. 11.

“I think that they are both great candidates,” said board member Kellie Smith, to the agreement of the other three board members.

Amos presented himself as a thoughtful, unbiased outsider to district politics with a background both in board service and the school system.

“I think I can offer some ways of getting to consensus that maybe we haven’t done before,” he told the board.

Monahan said he plans to run for a full term on the school board in the May election. Two positions on the five-member board will be up this year: the second position, held by Ray Biggs, and the fifth position, to which Amos was appointed Wednesday.

Amos said he has not decided whether he wants to seek a full four years on the board.

“I’ll do the best I can to get the job done,” Amos said afterward. He added, “My sole intent was to fill a hole that needed to be filled, and to do the best for kids.”

Although Amos said he was inspired to apply for the seat after reading about a dispute at the Jan. 28 board meeting over Columbia City School, which the school district is planning to reopen this fall after a three-year closure, he indicated he does not want to be the deciding vote on how to configure the school.

The board set a goal Wednesday to make a decision on Columbia City by its next meeting Wednesday, Feb. 25, or by March at the latest.

Amos is expected to be sworn in at the Feb. 25 meeting.

Editor's note: A previous version of this story misspelled the last name of the other finalist for the board position. His name is Trinity Monahan. The story has been corrected.