A Whitehall-Yearling High School alumnus is the newest member of the Whitehall school board.

"I'm excited about my new role (as a board member)," said Jeffrey Lees, 48, a 1988 graduate.

Lees was selected from among eight people who sought appointment to the unexpired term of former board member Joy Bivens, who stepped down April 23.

Bivens' term expires Dec. 31, 2019.

She said her increasing job responsibilities, including regular trips to Washington, D.C., got in the way of her board duties.

Bivens is the director of Franklin County Job and Family Services and recently was named to the National Association of Counties' Health and Human Services and Education Committee.

Of the eight people who applied to succeed Bivens, four were interviewed, said board President Blythe Wood.

"We had many excellent candidates apply for the position, making it a difficult decision," Wood said.

"(Lees') longstanding commitment to our students, district and community made him a front-runner during the interview process (and) he is a welcome addition to our board," she said.

That commitment has included serving as president of the Band Boosters at Whitehall-Yearling High School and as vice president of Whitehall-Yearling's parent-teacher-student association.

"(My wife and I) have been working to be more involved in our schools," Lees said.

He and his wife, Dee, have two sons and a daughter.

Their older son is a 2013 graduate of Whitehall. Their daughter is a junior at Whitehall-Yearling; their youngest is a student at Rosemore Middle School.

Lees' father, Patrick, is a 1967 Whitehall graduate.

Lees said he would step down from his leadership roles in Band Boosters and the PTSA to serve on the school board.

"I have a lot to catch up (but) I'd like to see more parent involvement," said Lees, adding that as he becomes acclimated to his role on the board, he hopes to get his message to more parents in the district.

"You don't have to volunteer to be involved. Something as simple as asking your child about his day and making sure there is quiet time at home set aside for study is being involved," Lees said.

Lees said he plans to seek election to a new term next year.

"If I'm effective (now) and think I've made a difference, I will run (for election)."

Board members unanimously appointed Lees, who was sworn in at his first board meeting May 10.