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District 205 welcomes new board members, recognizes those leaving

ELMHURST – The District 205 Board of Education had a special meeting this week to recognize two outgoing board members and welcome two new ones.

Elected in 2009, Maria Hirsch served as vice president of the board during the past two years of her service.

“Four years on the Board of Education was hard,” Hirsch said to the board. “It was challenging. I was up at 2 in the morning, but really, 35 years of teaching kindergarteners is something that is really humbling. That is what this is supposed to be about.”

Susan DeRonne retired from the board after two decades. Elected in 1993, DeRonne spent six years as secretary and three as president, among other contributions.

“You’ve lost your historian,” DeRonne said to the board, adding, “I have none of the answers, but a lot of the background, and I’m in the phone book.”

As her last act on the board, Hirsch swore in the three board members who won the April 9 election. Jim Collins returned for his second term and again was elected president of the board, while Margaret Harrell and Emily Bastedo are first-time board members.

“I do recognize that my role will probably have to change,” said Harrell, who has worked on economic issues within the district, including co-founding a group that provides funding for high school students facing financial hardship. Even in her new position, she maintains she will continue in the same direction.

“I think those are the ideals and thoughts of the community,” she said. “And I will continue to express those.”

Harrell’s two daughters are teenagers, and Bastedo comes to the board as the mother of two sons younger than 7.

“I think I’ve got a lot at stake because my kids are so young,” Bastedo said. “If something is a good idea, I’ve got the motivation to get it enacted sooner, quicker, faster.”

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