Zach Wright, a former Whitehall City Schools teacher and coach, has been selected to fill the unexpired term of former Whitehall school board President Blythe Wood, who resigned Feb. 21.
Wright, 58, was a teacher at Whitehall-Yearling High School from 1984 until he retired in 2012. He also served as the head coach of the high school’s track team for 30 years.
After he retired, Wright became the freshman class adviser at St. Charles Preparatory School in Bexley.
Wright said his desire to stay involved led to his pursuit of the empty board seat.
“I wanted to stay a part of the community and I’m looking forward to helping to get our students better prepared for success after high school,” he said.
Wright is set to be sworn in during the board meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday, March 14, at Whitehall-Yearling High School, 675 S. Yearling Road.
Wright was selected from three candidates, whom board members interviewed during a special meeting March 11, said Ty Debevoise, director of marketing and communications for Whitehall schools.
Six people applied for Wood’s vacant seat, but two – Michael Arends and Tiffanie Charles – were disqualified because each missed the filing deadline of noon March 6, Debevoise said.
David Hagemann withdrew from consideration, Debevoise said.
Board members interviewed Michelle Richardson and Kyra Thorpe in addition to Wright.
“All three that we interviewed (did) very well,” said board President Mike Adkins. “It was a very tough choice, but at the end, we all thought (Wright) would do a good job.”
Adkins, the board's former vice president, ascended to president when Wood resigned.
Board members tapped Leo Knoblauch as the new vice president.
Wright will fill the unexpired term of Wood, which ends Dec. 31, 2021.
Wood had served as a board member since being appointed in 2005 to the unexpired term of Darlene Jessup.
She was elected in 2007 to Jessup’s term and re-elected in 2009, 2013 and 2017.
Wood accepted a job as the associate director of the Children’s Dyslexic Center in Dublin and will remain an academic behavioral coach in the special-education department in the Pickerington Local School District.
Wright resigned in December as an 18-year member of the Whitehall Parks and Recreation Commission and said he had time to commit to being a school board member.
“I want us to find ways to make it exciting for our youngest children to want to learn,” said Wright, adding the focus to do so must begin at the elementary school level.
Wright said the district’s grades on the state report card must improve.
“I want to give our kids some dreams and aspirations that make them excited to learn and become better prepared for life after high school,” whether in college or in a vocation, he said.
Wright is a lifelong resident of Whitehall and a 1979 graduate of Whitehall-Yearling.
He and his wife, Shari, have three adult sons and one daughter, all Whitehall-Yearling graduates, and four grandchildren.