Write-in winner will take school board post

SARANAC LAKE — Mark Farmer has agreed to join the Board of Education.

Tuesday night left the Saranac Lake Central School District in suspense. After Board of Education member Clyde Baker decided not to run for another term and no one ran for the position, it was to be decided by a write-in. The write-in candidate with the most votes could then choose to accept the position or not.

Almost an hour after polls closed, the write-in candidate with the most votes, Farmer with 18, had said that he would need time to decide. For two days the district waited.

“Even though the circumstances are a bit odd I ultimately decided to accept the position due to the classes I taught in the first half of my career. I taught American government and U.S. History,” Farmer wrote in an email to the Enterprise. “I emphasized over and over participation by citizens makes our process work. I challenged students to be involved. Now that this opportunity presented itself I believe not taking the position would be in conflict with what I asked others to consider.”

On Thursday afternoon Farmer told district officials he would join the board. He has already been athletic director, teacher and high school dean of students for Saranac Lake, and was also baseball and football coach. His board term starts in July.

Farmer told the Enterprise he hopes to bring his years of experience to the table and will be vocal in his opinions.

“I will be active in expressing my views and supportive of the BOE mission to provide the best we can for our school and community,” Farmer wrote. “As a school staff member for nearly 30 years and holding various positions during that time I believe I can share with the BOE and the community some perspectives from inside of the school.”

Board members and school officials welcomed him.

“When a new member is welcomed to our school board table, it strengthens our collective thought processes and makes us a better Board,” Diane Fox, Saranac Lake Central School District superintendent of schools, wrote in an email to the Enterprise. “Mark brings to the table a wide range of interests and skills to the table as well as broad institutional history. The Board and I are looking forward to Mark joining us in July.”

“I want to extend to you my sincere congratulations on your election to the SLCS Board of Education,” board President Rick Retrosi wrote to Farmer. “New faces and ideas, and fresh perspectives are always a welcome addition to our ranks. Once you get to witness, firsthand, the multifaceted duties and challenges that the Board takes on, I hope you find the work rewarding.”

Farmer said he is ready to start.

“The path to this position is not nearly as important as being productive in the position,” he wrote. “I look forward to serving and am excited to begin.”