KODIAK — In welcoming Katie Oliver to the Kodiak Island Borough School District board of education Monday, board president Norm Wooten recalled the experience of serving as a school board member with Oliver’s father.

“In the words of Yogi Berra, it’s like déjà vu all over again,” Wooten said.

Shortly after taking her place with the other school board members, Oliver was also elected treasurer of the school board — a position, Wooten said, by tradition given to the newest school board members to acquaint them with the district’s finances.

The board of education selected Oliver to serve after interviewing a strong slate of candidates last week that included school activities volunteer Richard Walker and retired teacher Giovanni Tallino.

“I think that the school board would have been well served by any of the candidates and I hope that we all run,” Olivier said.

Oliver takes over the school board seat, formerly held by Petal Ruch, until the municipal election in October, when voters will elect someone to fulfill the remaining year of the term. Two other three-year seats will also be up for election.

Oliver said Ruch is a family friend.

“When she resigned, she’s one of the first people I called to talk about board service, what it meant and the commitment,” Oliver said. “She was a great resource and I’m very pleased that it worked out and I’m able to be here.”

Oliver is the director of the Baranov Museum and sits on other nonprofit boards in the community and statewide. In her school board interview last week, she emphasized her experience with “boardmanship” would transfer to school board work immediately.

She also emphasized at the interview that she wants to inspire people to speak publicly about issues important to them.

“I was at one of the borough assembly meetings in late May,” Oliver said. “I think everyone there was so impressed with the high school students that got up and spoke their mind about the budget process and were really civically engaged.

“It can be easy to be complacent and we’re all so busy and we have to remind ourselves that it’s really important to come to public meetings and talk about what’s important to us,” she said.

Oliver is a parent of two children who attend North Star Elementary school.

Mirror writer Wes Hanna can be reached via email at whanna@kodiakdailymirror.com.

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