By Jacob Sturm
Mere months after the 2022 school board election, another seat has become available for the interested members in the Mustang Community.
Dedra Stafford, who has served her current term as the Seat 5 representative on the board of education since 2020, notified Mustang Superintendent, Charles Bradley, that she is moving out of the Mustang school boundaries. That immediately takes her out of consideration to be serving as a board member.
Stafford officially notified Bradley with a letter on July 7. With that information known, her seat effectively became vacant before the meeting on July 11. Stafford was not present for the meeting.
“There is a 60-day window that the board has to go through the process of appointing another board member,” Bradley said.
Bradley said that window, as long as he counted the days correctly, would end Sept. 9. There are multiple steps the board of education will take before appointing a replacement.
The board first looks at how long into the term had Stafford completed. If the term had not got to the halfway point, the appointee would have to place their name on the ballot for the next election cycle. Bradley said that election would be Feb. 23, 2023. That would also mean filing for the position this December.
“In this case, Dedra had fulfilled less than half of her term,” Bradley said. “So, whoever the board appoints, if they want to continue, would have to run for reelection.”
The board of education declared Stafford’s seat vacant at the meeting. Interested parties will need to contact the Superintendent’s Office.
Bradley said he has nothing to do with the selection of the next board member. So, why contact the superintendent’s office?
“What contacting my office does, by state statute there are certain criteria that individuals have to meet in order to run or be appointed to board seats,” Bradley said. “So, what we will do is we will go through those conditions that exist with anybody interested and then if all of those boxes are checked, then I will provide Mr. (Todd) Lovelace (Board of Education President) a list of all interested applicants.”
At that point, the board will decide when they want to have a special meeting to interview the candidates.
Following the meeting, Mustang Public Schools Director of Communications, Kirk Wilson, issued the following statement thanking Stafford for her time serving the Mustang School District.
“On behalf of Mustang Public Schools, we would like to sincerely thank Dedra Stafford for her dedicated service as a member of the MPS Board of Education representing Seat No. 5,” Wilson said. “Dedra began her service in 2020 and held the office of Clerk and Deputy Clerk. While serving in this capacity, her strategic thinking and deep understanding of the field of education played a crucial role in guiding us through a pandemic and beyond.”
“We wish Dedra the absolute best in her future endeavors, and invite anyone interested in serving on the Board to email MERCcontact@mustangps.org for more information,” Wilson said.
Bradley will check in with Lovelace after 15 days of the application being available (July 27) to make sure they remain on target to find an appointee to replace Stafford before the 60-day window closes.