Bio: Olson, Todd D. (10 Jan. 2005)

Contact: Crystal Wendt

----Source:Marshfield News Herald (Marshfield, Wood Co., Wis.) Mon, Jan 10, 2005

Olson's board seat hard one to fill

By Jeni Lewis Marshfield News-Herald LOYAL - When Loyal School Board member Todd Olson was called to active duty with the Wisconsin National Guard in June, he offered to resign his seat.

But the board refused to accept his resignation, designating Olson inactive instead.

"We told him, 'We don't want you to resign,' because he would have had time left when he got back from active duty," said board member Ken Loos.

Olson, 36, died Dec. 26 in the 67th Combat Support Hospital in Tikrit, Iraq, from wounds he suffered in Samarra the day before when an improvised bomb detonated. He was a staff sergeant of Detachment 1, Company C, of the Wisconsin National Guard's 1st Battalion, 128th Infantry.

There is one year left of Olson's first term, and the school board will decide how to fill his seat at its 6:30 p.m. Jan. 12 meeting.

It's too late to get in the April 5 election, said Superintendent Graeme Williams. Candidates wanting to run for seats had to have their applications filed by 5 p.m. Tuesday. Incumbents Jean Campbell and David Clouse are running again, unopposed, for their seats.

"We will probably fill it with an appointment for a year until the next election," Williams said.

While an active board member, Olson was on the finance, curriculum, policy and long-range planning committees. Since he was named inactive, other board members have filled his place on those committees, Williams said.

"He was a very active person. It's like losing family," Loos said. "It will take time. No one person can replace Todd."

To appoint someone to fill the seat, a board member can nominate a community member residing in the city of Loyal, the district Olson represented, said Ken Cole, executive director of Wisconsin Association of School Boards.

But that doesn't happen very often.

"School districts many times will put in their minutes or make it known they are accepting applications from interested parties," Cole said. "They even interview candidates. That's more common."

Last year, both Marshfield School District and Auburndale School District had to appoint someone to fill a vacated seat. Both districts had candidates apply and interview with the boards before appointing the new member.



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