CHATHAM — By joint vote of the board of selectmen and the town's representatives to the Monomoy Regional School Committee, Jo-anne Sheehan was chosen Tuesday to fill a vacancy on the school board. The appointment is valid through May, when voters will choose a candidate to serve until May 2019.
Sheehan, a West Chatham resident, retired in 2013 after a lengthy teaching career. Holding an undergraduate history degree from Salve Regina University and a master's degree in English from Fairfield University, Sheehan began as a history teacher in Braintree in 1968, and taught middle school history and English in Newtown, Conn., from 1987 to 2013.
In addition to leading the English language arts department, Sheehan was a mentor to student teachers and helped shape the school's behavior policy. She took a leadership role in developing the English curriculum from Common Core standards, and taught a class for other teachers helping them improve students' writing skills across the curriculum. Sheehan is also a volunteer with the Chatham Orpheum Theatre.
Sheehan was not alone in seeking the seat; Airport Commission member Tom Wilson also applied, saying he has a grandson at Chatham Elementary and another set to start kindergarten next year. Wilson and his wife are also volunteers in the schools.
School committee members are ordinarily elected by voters from the town they represent, but the regional agreement stipulates that any vacancy prior to an election will be filled by a majority vote of the board of selectmen and the town's other school committee delegates. Voting on Tuesday were all members of the board of selectmen and school committee members Stephen Davol, Jackie Zibrat-Long and Nancy Scott, the chairman. Sheehan was elected on a 5-3 vote.
Sheehan takes the seat vacated by Karen Ryder, who resigned in September.
Selectmen and school committee members thanked both candidates for volunteering, and urged Wilson to apply again when a seat becomes available.