THE DURAND BOARD OF EDUCATION officially welcomed its newest member, Jacob Zdunic, Monday, Sept. 12. Zdunic was appointed to replace past board president and trustee Al Perry, who resigned his position to concentrate more of his time on his growing professional and personal commitments. Perry had been balancing his work with the board with his duties as the Assistant Athletic Director at Mott Community College for years, and he decided the time was finally right to step away.

Perry, who served nearly six years on the board, sought re-election in 2014 with the understanding that he may not complete the term. The board members made the decision to try to remain intact through the 2014 election in an effort to finish what they started. This board has turned a district deficit into a healthy fund balance, sold two elementary schools, and improved the curriculum, among other accomplishments, while dealing with salary freezes, school closures, and the cutting of programs. The remaining board members give Perry credit for being a leader in the district’s recovery.

Treasurer Paul Mayers said Perry “led the board better than anyone I have seen in my 20 years of coming to these meetings.” Other board members called Perry “a great leader,” and said he was “a big part of turning the district around.” Secretary Blair Pancheck tearfully thanked Perry for helping to mentor her when she first joined the board in 2014. Pancheck was not the only board member to shed a tear or two as they all said goodbye to their friend, and everyone expressed how much they will miss Perry’s leadership, work ethic, and humor. Superintendent Craig McCrumb, though able to keep his emotions in check, had some pleasant words for the now former board member.

“We are all going to miss Al,” McCrumb said Monday. “He is a leader and a visionary. He thinks a layer or two deeper than the rest of us. He really led the charge for the board to seek education. He has made a great investment in our school district.”

The ever-humble Perry was reluctant to accept the praise heaped on him by the board members, but the always quotable Perry was happy to talk about Zdunic’s future with the board.

“Jake will be a tremendous asset to the board and the district,” Perry said during Monday’s meeting. “He brings a fresh perspective and a long term commitment to an already strong board, and he has demonstrated that with the work he has done on the committees he has served on for the district. I look forward to Jake positively impacting the board, the district, and the community.”

Zdunic (on right) is shown here shaking hands with Perry following Monday’s meeting, with the board and McCrumb gathered around in the rotunda of the Durand Middle School. Present in the photo were (from left) Vice President Cari Shephard, Superintendent McCrumb, Trustee Kasey Fiebernitz, Perry, Secretary Pancheck, Treasurer Mayers, Jake Zdunic, and President Xak Zdunic. Not pictured was Trustee Bill Johnson. (Independent Photo/Graham Sturgeon)

Durand Board of Ed Welcomes New Member was last modified: September 19th, 2016 by Karen Elford