Wenatchee School board welcomes new member

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Wenatchee School Board members Katherine Thomas, left, and María Iñiguez after the swearing-in of new officers Nov. 23, 2021.

WENATCHEE — Newcomer Katherine Thomas took her seat Tuesday on the Wenatchee School Board, the same day her election victory was certified by the Chelan County Auditor’s Office with a 50.65 percent share of the vote — just 200 ballots ahead of the incumbent she unseated.

The first official meeting for the new Wenatchee School Board member was also the first one held in-person since last August, when an unmasked crowd disrupted the event in protest of COVID-19 mandates. On Tuesday, the Wenatchee registered nurse was sworn into the position formerly held by Michele Sandberg.

Thomas was the only one of three challengers to win a board seat; incumbents Julie Norton and Maria Iñiguez, both appointed to the board to fill absences last year, retained their positions.

Laura Jaecks is the current board’s longest-serving member, holding a seat since 2003. In the Tuesday meeting, the board elected new officers, with Jaecks stepping down after an unprecedented two terms as president.

The election of board officers was the only agenda item requiring a vote, with Martin Barron elected president. Norton and Iñiguez were each nominated for vice president, with Barron breaking the tie in Iñiguez’s favor. Norton will instead serve as the board’s legislative representative to Olympia.