Ernst will take spot on Hillsboro school board


Photo: Doug Ernst

By Jeff Gilliland – [email protected]

Doug Ernst has been selected by the Hillsboro City Schools Board of Education to fill the unexpired term of board member Sam Barnhouse, who passed away Sept. 11, 2016 during his second term on the board.

The board interviewed Ernst and four other candidates – Phil Loudin, Michael Salyer, Sheri Smith and Jerry Walker – according to superintendent Jim Smith, who said the decision on Barnhouse’s successor was left solely to the board of education.

One candidate scheduled an interview but did not show up for it, and another turned in an application but it was received after the board’s application deadline of last Friday, board president Terry Britton said.

“We just thought Doug came out on top as far as ratings and was a strong candidate,” Britton said Thursday. “Not that we didn’t have other strong candidates. Everyone we interviewed interviewed really well. It was a tough decision, but it was one we had to make.”

Board members said at their Sept. 21 regular meeting that they had 30 days to appoint a replacement for Barnhouse. If the board had not made an appointment within that time, the responsibility would have fallen to Highland County Probate Court.

Ernst and his wife, Ann, have three children who have all attended the Hillsboro City Schools, including a daughter who is a junior at the high school. Ernst is currently is the production control supervisor at Weastec, Inc. in Hillsboro.

Contacted Thursday at work, Ernst said he had thought of running for a position on the Hillsboro City Schools Board of Education in the past, especially around the time he served on the St. Mary Catholic School Board of Education in Hillsboro.

Ernst said he decided to turn in an application after Barnhouse’s passing because he felt he needed to find a way to serve the community more and because it was something he thought he could, and should, do.

“I think it’s important that the school continues to thrive as it has the past few years,” Ernst said. “I think it has done very well the last few years and I wanted to help continue that success. I think a strong school board is very, very important and I wanted to be part of that.”

Ernst will join current board members Britton, Tom Milbery, Bill Myers and Beverly Rhoads. Myers’ and Rhoads’ terms expire on Dec. 31, 2017; and Britton’s and Milbery’s terms expire on Dec. 31, 2019. Britton is running for a Highland County Board of Commissioner’s seat in next month’s general election.

Barnhouse retired from the Hillsboro City Schools in 2007 after serving 35 years as a teacher, administrator and coach. He served on the board of education for seven-plus years after he retired.

Ernst will serve on the board until the time when Barnhouse’s term would have concluded at the end of 2017.

“I’m excited about it,” Ernst said. “It’s an opportunity for me personally and I hope I can use my skills and knowledge to help.”

Ernst will be sworn in Monday at a special board of education meeting scheduled for 8:30 a.m. and will assume his duties immediately.

Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522 or on Twitter @13gillilandj.

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