The Blaine County school board passed the gavel to Keith Roark in his first meeting as a trustee, unanimously electing the Zone 3 representative chairman of the board Monday night. 

The four-term prosecuting attorney and former Hailey mayor will preside over a board filled with newcomers following November’s election. Both he and Zone 1 Trustee Amber Larna took the oath of office at the start of Monday’s annual meeting, joining Lara Stone as first-termers on the five-person panel. 

“In addition to his legal expertise, he’s extremely well-qualified to lead the board,” Stone said. 

He’ll succeed former Chairwoman Ellen Mandeville, who represented Zone 3 from 2016 to 2019. Roark ran for her vacated seat unopposed last fall.

“I know that we typically try to give trustees some board experience before appointing them chair, but ... he has extensive experience in public office,” said Vice Chairwoman Kelly Green, who will stay on in that role through 2020. 

In addition, District Finance Manager Bryan Fletcher was unanimously named board treasurer, a role he’s held since 2017. Fletcher joined the School District in September 2016. For now, he’ll also serve as substitute clerk; the board opted not to name a permanent clerk this week. 

With the exception of January and July, the board will continue to schedule meetings for the second Tuesday of each month. The next regular meeting comes on Feb. 11.

But the trustees will see a lot of each other before then—they’ll follow the meeting Monday with another executive session on Friday, a special public meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 21, at 6 p.m. to finish off January’s agenda and a trustee training session on Saturday, Jan. 25, at 9 a.m.

Email the writer: mdee@mtexpress.com

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