By Melinda Munson

Residents attending school board meetings this year will notice a few changes. The Skagway School Board added one new member and reassigned board positions.

School board president John Hischer resigned last October so his newly formed company, Taiya Counseling Services, LLC, could contract with the school to provide mental health treatment without a conflict of interest. 

Previously, the school contracted mental health services through Dahl Memorial Clinic, Hischer’s former employer, allowing Hischer to treat students and remain on the school board. Since Hischer’s departure from the clinic, Dahl was unable to provide a mental health professional to meet the school’s needs. 

“The current difficulties in our community and across the country in hiring mental health professionals has made it necessary that I choose to resign so that I may serve the Skagway School District in providing mental health services to students,” Hischer wrote in his resignation letter.

Hischer served on the school board for 10 years and in 2020 received the MacKinnon Educational Excellence and Human Recognition Award.

Hischer’s resignation and school board member Jaime Bricker’s decision not to run again left two open seats. One position was filled by Luke Rauscher, who ran unopposed in the October election.

The school solicited letters of interest so they could appoint a replacement to Hischer’s seat. Bricker wrote a letter offering herself as a replacement. According to Superintendent Josh Coughran, Bricker’s correspondence is the only submission that met the deadline. Although Hischer had two years left in his term, Bricker will remain on the board until the next election.

After reorganization, Cory Thole is now school board president, Jason Verhaeghe serves as vice-president, Jaime Bricker is clerk, Denise Sager is treasurer and Luke Rauscher is member-at-large.

The next regular board meeting is Jan. 31 at 7 p.m.