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Kusel resigns from school board

Delaine Fragnoli
Managing Editor

Jonathan Kusel has resigned his seat on the Plumas Office of Education/Plumas Unified School District governing board.

Kusel told his fellow board members, in an e-mail dated March 1, that he was resigning effective immediately.

"After agonizing over the decision for some time, my wife would like to work in the schools and it is important for her to have her turn." Conflict of interest regulations restrict whether and how a board member's spouse can be employed.

The district is now seeking a replacement for Kusel. Applicants must reside in the Indian Valley attendance area. Application packets and additional information are available at the district office in Quincy, 50 Church St., or through the office of the superintendent at 283-6500, ext. 217. Applications are due to the superintendent's office by noon Thursday, April 7.

Kusel had some parting advice for his fellow board members. He urged them to be "attentive and active. District students, our communities and district employees need you more than ever."

He cautioned them "to avoid the tendency to cast people with either 'white' or 'black' hats. As within our communities or organizations elsewhere, there is sometimes the unfortunate, unhelpful, and even damaging perspective within the district to label people or ascribe a 'hat color' and view actions accordingly. It does not serve well."

Kusel asked board members to respond to "district employee or student actions and behavior for what they are, no more and no less, but ... respond, resolutely and compassionately as appropriate."

He ended his e-mail by asking the board to be "scrupulously honest with itself, and be scrupulously honest and fair, keeping the interests of district employees, students and residents of all of the district's communities in mind. Good work by the board has never been more important and needed."

Kusel served on the board for eight years before losing a re-election bid to Mary Batson Shero in 2008. Shero resigned the position effective June 2009, setting off a months' long process to find a replacement. No candidates responded to calls for appointment, and no one filed to run in the subsequent special election for the seat. Finally, Kusel stepped forward, along with one other candidate, and was appointed to the board in November 2009.

At the time, Kusel said a good board member was one who "doesn't always just go along. Sometimes you have to speak up."

And speak up he did. Over the last year he has been vocal in his support of Indian Valley schools, particularly the sustainability of Greenville High School.

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