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Special School District Swears in Board Members

Three incumbents were sworn in as members of the Special School District Board of Education this week.

Three candidates elected Monday to seats on the  (SSD) board of education were sworn in at the board’s Tuesday meeting. The SSD district office is located in Town and Country.

This year, all three SSD candidates were unopposed incumbents and will serve three-year terms. James Westbury, who advocates for SSD's Subdistrict 7 on behalf of both Rockwood and Lindbergh school districts, was also re-elected as president of the SSD board. Also re-elected were Zella Williams, representing Subdistrict 1 for Hazelwood and Riverview Gardens school districts and Daniel Cuneo, representing Subdistrict 2 for Affton, Bayless, Hancock Place and Mehlville school districts.

Cuneo was re-elected vice president of the board at Tuesday's meeting, and Ken Eigenberg was re-elected secretary. SDD Chief Financial Officer Rich Carver will continue as treasurer of the board.

SSD candidates are appointed a bit differently than other school board directors. With the passage of Proposition S in 1998, SSD board members are interviewed and elected by the district’s "Governing Council." The council is comprised of one board of education representative from each of the 22 school districts in St. Louis County. Janet Strate, of Chesterfield, is the current Rockwood School District board of education director who serves as Rockwood's representative to the council. 

Westbury said the board's future focus will be to support a newly implemented program called Continuous Classroom Improvement.  "This is our new attempt to organize the approach to the education of the youngsters we serve," he said. "We feel good about how we're doing as a district, and would like to be able to better measure the achievement of our kids."

He said the new program requires training teachers to change their thinking.

"It takes an extreme amount of patience, skills and understanding to work with students who have disabilities and are at their own, individual levels of achievement," he said.

Westbury said they are proud of how the SSD teachers work with students throughout the St. Louis region in their own "home buildings," which are the public schools located nearest to their residencies.

The special district also has five buildings of its own, plus a North and South Technical High School. Westbury said the district is dedicated to assisting students according to the moral and legislative concept of "Least Restrictive Environments." He said this approach enables students with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) to be successful in the best environment for their particular situation.

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