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Karen Braden joins city school board

Brookhaven aldermen Tuesday named Karen Braden to the BrookhavenSchool District Board of Trustees, replacing Amy Valentine in oneof three city-appointed positions on the five-member board.

Braden, a mother of four, will take office in February for afive-year term. She said schools are important and that she islooking forward to serving on the board.

“I’m excited. I believe in the city schools,” Braden said whenreached for comment Wednesday morning.

During Tuesday’s night meeting, Ward 4 Alderman Bob Massengillnominated Braden for the school board post. He cited her childrenin the school district and her support for education.

“She has a strong interest in seeing that all the young peopleand all the children receive a quality education,” Massengillsaid.

Alderman at large Les Bumgarner, a former school board memberthat Valentine replaced five years ago, made a motion to reappointValentine. That motion was not pursued after Massengill’s motionwas seconded by Ward 5 Alderman Tom Smith.

The board vote was announced as 5-1, with Bumgarner opposed.Ward 3 Alderman the Rev. Jerry L. Wilson did not raise his handeither way and was recorded as abstaining, although his positionwas going to be verified for the city board minutes.

“I didn’t know we were doing that tonight,” Bumgarner said aboutthe school board vote.

After the meeting, Massengill echoed comments about Braden’sability to do a good job and said that last night’s decision wasnot an indication of Valentine’s service.

“We appreciate the five years that Mrs. Valentine has served onthe board,” Massengill said.

When contacted Wednesday, Valentine supported the city boarddecision, although she said it was expected in February and notJanuary. Valentine said she respected and admired Braden as a goodfriend and a parent.

“Karen Braden is an excellent choice,” Valentine said. “I’m realhappy that the board chose to put another lady on the schoolboard.”

Braden and her husband, Dr. David Braden, have fourchildren.

Katy Braden graduated from the city school district and isattending college at Baylor University. Marley Braden is a seniorthis year, while Blaise is in the sixth grade and Ansley is in thethird grade.

The board of aldermen appoints three members of the five membersof the school district board of trustees. The other two positionsare elected by residents who live outside the city limits, butstill within the city school district.

According to city records, Gwendolyn Sartin, who was appointed,will be up for consideration in 2004. Dr. Prentiss Smith, fillingone of the two elected positions, will follow in 2005.

Other school board members are Dan Brown, who was appointed, andCarl Aycock, who was elected.

In another city board appointment Tuesday, aldermen unanimouslyapproved James Tillman, assistant superintendent of the city schooldistrict, joining the Brookhaven Housing Authority. He replacesJohn Sartin, who died recently.