After four failed votes, Rob Castle was selected on Aug. 7 as a new interim member of the Rockwood School District Board of Education.
By a vote of 4 to 1 – with Keith Kinder opposed and Matt Doell absent – Castle was selected from among a total of five residents who applied for the open board position.
Castle, 48, resides in unincorporated St. Louis County near Fenton and is the father of two Rockwood Summit High graduates and a current senior. He is set to take his oath of office during the Aug. 21 board meeting and will fill, until the April 2015 election, the board seat vacated by Jeffrey Morrell.
In addition to Castle, candidates who applied were Jaime Bayes, Laura Gunderson, Herman Kriegshauser and Dr. Steven Taff. All were interviewed prior to voting, during 15-minute blocked interview sessions.
Castle and Bayes, who have both served as Rockwood District volunteers on various committees and in schools, emerged during later open board discussions as the top two candidates under consideration along with Gunderson.
Dissension arose during the voting after board member Dominque Paul said she was concerned about Bayes’ involvement with the recent campaign of board member Loralee Mondl.
“There’s no controversy – she’s my good friend and, yes, she ran my campaign,” Mondl said in response. “If that precludes her from serving the district, I’m willing to walk out the door. We should want to vote for someone because they’re right for the district. She wants to serve and that has nothing to do with our friendship. I know what she’s put into this district.”[CORRECTION:] Board member Sherri Rogers said she agreed with Mondl on Bayes’ background and life experiences, and she and Paul were later the only votes in favor of Castle and against Bayes being on the board. A four-vote minimum was necessary to approve a candidate.
Brown suggested tabling further votes until Aug. 21, but District Superintendent Eric Knost recommended against doing so.
“We all come to times in our responsibilities when we need to sacrifice what an individual wants for the good of everyone,” he told the five board members at the meeting. “You’ve been talking about two candidates you all thought were very good. Clearly, you can stalemate for a long time, but one of these two will end up as the next board member.”