Milton School Board President Bob Cullen, who has served on the board for nearly two decades, won’t seek re-election in April.
Cullen will have served on the board for 18 years when his sixth term expires in spring. After his youngest daughter graduated from Milton High School earlier this year, Cullen knew it was time to step aside, he said.
“When you’re on the board and you have children in the schools, that’s a benefit,” Cullen said. “Not that you have to have kids as a board member, but it is a benefit to have kids in the school. You’re more connected.”
Cullen was first elected to the board in 1997 and served six years. He then took three years off before returning in 2006 to the board, where he has remained since.
He’s been board president for the past year, his second stint in that role. He also has served as vice president, treasurer and clerk, he said.
Frustration over two failed facilities referendums in the last two years did not factor into Cullen’s decision. It was purely a matter of time, and he had already considered leaving the board three years ago, he said.
He credited his family for supporting him during his many years of commitment. They encouraged him in 2015 to seek one more term.
“It’s a lot of time out of the house, but I enjoyed my 18 years,” Cullen said. “I’ll miss it. Yes, there were challenges, but they were challenges for the right reasons.”
His proudest accomplishment has been enhancing the district’s image across the state. He’s met people through school board conventions, and they’ve told him they see Milton as a respected and high-quality district, he said.
That’s helped make Milton and its surrounding municipalities a desirable place for families to raise their children, he said.
“We’re not perfect by any means. No school district is,” Cullen said. “As long as we continue to keep students’ interests first and foremost, I’m proud of the fact we’ve been able to maintain if not enhance our perception because of our schools.”
Cullen encouraged other district residents to consider getting involved on the school board. His only piece of advice was to “serve with the right intent” rather than being a single-issue candidate, he said.
In addition to the seat held by Cullen, the board seats held by Shelly Crull-Hanke and Brian Kvapil are up for election in April.
District Administrative Assistant Kim Krause said Kvapil has taken out papers to run again. She had not heard from Crull-Hanke.
Would-be newcomers Diamond McKenna, Harvey Smith and Gabriel Szerlong have taken out nomination papers, Krause said.
McKenna announced her candidacy in a press release Monday, saying she and her husband had recently relocated their business to Milton because of the school district’s strong reputation.
To be considered for the ballot, would-be candidates must collect signatures from at least 100 district residents and turn in nomination papers by 5 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 2, Krause said.
The school district office will be closed from Monday, Dec. 25, through Monday, Jan. 1, she said.