Whitehall Board of Education members unanimously approved the appointment of two new school board members March 28.

Whitehall Board of Education members unanimously approved the appointment of two new school board members March 28.

Darryl Hammock, who previously served on the board as an appointee in 2010 and 2011, and Joy Bivens replace Brandon Howard and his mother, Ronda Howard.

The two seats were left vacant last month when then board vice president Ronda Howard and her son abruptly stepped down.

Bivens and Hammock were sworn in March 28 with a small crowd of supporters present.

Bivens was chosen to serve in Ronda Howard's seat. She said she would run again in November, when the seat will be up for election to fill the remaining two years of the unexpired term.

Hammock is filling Brandon Howard's seat and said he also would run in November, when the seat will be up for election because of the expiring term. Hammock will seeking a new four-year term.

"I'm very excited to serve this district," Bivens said. "When I saw that there were seats, I thought it was an opportunity to submit my skills to assist this board and just grow in our district."

Bivens has lived in Whitehall for more than 10 years and has two children, ages 15 and 12, in the district.

"I think I bring the skills of administration and forecasting," she said. "I also run a business, so I have budgetary skills as well."

She said she was both excited and humbled to be called to serve.

"I just want to help the board in whatever they need me to do and continue to allow the Whitehall City Schools to be one of the greatest districts in Ohio," she said.

Bivens said she has high hopes for the district and is confident in its ability to succeed.

"If I didn't, I wouldn't have my kids in the district," she said.

Bivens has a Bachelor of Science in health care administration from Capital University and is the director/co-owner of Ambassador Home Health Care Services. She serves on several committees and commissions throughout central Ohio.

Hammock served on the school board in 2010, when former board member Carolyn McIntosh stepped down for personal reasons. Because the board could not agree on a candidate, the decision was made by a Franklin County probate judge, who appointed Hammock.

When Hammock tried to run for the remaining two years of the term, he had only 22 valid signatures -- three short of the number required to run, according to the Franklin County Board of Elections.

The number of petition signatures needed to appear on the ballot varies depending on the size of the school district. Prospective candidates in exempted village and local school districts must gather 25 valid signatures, the same as those living in city school districts with populations of less than 20,000 residents.

"I'm excited to be back," Hammock said following his swearing-in this week. "I feel a little more comfortable this time."

He said being on the board previously may have helped him land a second appointment, one he's anxious to serve.

"Working with them, we were on the same page, and we got a lot accomplished," Hammock said. "We didn't have a lot of controversy. We were moving forward. So I think it was a bit easier for them to let me back on (the board) because they feel confident they can keep moving forward."

Hammock continues to support the district's efforts, he said, although he would like to see more Whitehall graduates go on to seek either a two-year or four-year degree.

Hammock's oldest son is a 2012 graduate of Whitehall-Yearling High School and is enrolled in college. He also has a freshman and eighth-grader in Whitehall schools.

He has a Bachelor of Arts in pre-seminary from Cedarville University and earned a master's at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is a youth minister at the Whitehall Baptist Church and the owner of YellowVan Handyman.

He has volunteered in the schools for some 15 years.

The two will join the board at their next regularly scheduled meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday, April 11, at the district's administrative offices.