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Board of Directors Appoints New Member
On Monday, Feb. 6, the State College Area School District Board of Directors unanimously appointed Jim Leous to the Board to fill a seat left vacant after former President Amber Concepcion resigned last month to become a Centre County commissioner.
Board member Dan Duffy nominated Leous, a former SCASD board member and cyberinfrastructure specialist who leads the Emerging Technologies Group for Penn State’s Information Technology Services. One of nine candidates, Leous served three terms on the board from 2009 to 2021, including as vice president in 2011-2012 and from 2014 to 2018. He resigned to run for mayor of State College.
"We're really excited to welcome Jim back to the Board," Board President Jackie Huff said. "He was a very respected member during his tenure on the Board, and he brings with him a lot of institutional knowledge that will help us with our current work."
After his appointment, Leous was sworn in so he could join the Board to vote on the rest of the agenda items. His seat will be up for election for a four-year term in November, along with those held by Amy Bader, Dan Duffy, Laurel Zydney and Brandt.
Leous, however, has stated that he does not intend to run, a commitment that Huff said worked in his favor. By choosing him instead of applicants who plan to campaign, she said, the Board can avoid potentially influencing the election through elevating one individual over rivals.
“We don’t want to put our thumb on the scale,” she said.
On Feb. 2, the Board held a special meeting to interview candidates. Each candidate made a short presentation, followed by a Board discussion.
“I’d like to take a moment to thank all of you that applied,” Huff said during the Feb. 6 meeting before the vote. “The Board was thrilled to have so many qualified individuals interested in serving the district in this way. Please know that while we can choose only one applicant to fill the vacant seat tonight, we welcome the rest of you to continue engaging with the district. It’s my hope that you can find a community advisory committee or some other spot where your participation and experience can help build an even stronger SCASD. For those of you who are already engaged in this kind of work, thank you very much. We really hope you will continue with this path.”
By Chris Rosenblum
Photo by Nabil K. Mark