Blackfoot District Superintendent Chad Struhs presented trustees Peter Lipovac (Zone 1) and Taylor Johansen (Zone 4) with a gift at the school board meeting Thursday night to express his appreciation for their service. Both men are retiring from the school board, opting not to seek re-election in May. Their final day as board members is June 30.
"Both of these men have done wonderful things for the district," Struhs said. "We (at the district) appreciate their service and this is just a token of appreciation for their time and dedication."
Lipovac, who has served on the board for four years, survived a recall election last summer for allegedly not getting district approval to travel to a conference in New Mexico. He also took plenty of heat from the community the past year when it was revealed that the board approved a $220,000 separation agreement between the district and former superintendent Scott Crane.
However, Lipovac has made great strides in the district for the good of the students. He has been instrumental in the development of Chief Tahgee Elementary School, a new charter school opening this fall in Fort Hall, and has worked diligently to get language immersion programs into the schools.
"I have appreciated the opportunity to serve," said Lipovac. "I believe we've all had the same goals for the district and the community and that everyone in is his or her heart has always had the interest of the students upmost on their mind."
Johansen was appointed to the board in October 2011, replacing Bryce Lloyd, who resigned. Johansen also endured the scrutiny of the public over the Scott Crane separation agreement, but earned the respect of most patrons, teachers and colleagues in his efforts to do what's best for the students and to create a new atmosphere of transparency between the board and the patrons.
Johansen, a local surgeon, cited time constraints as one reason for stepping down from the board, saying, "My respect has grown for people who are willing to take time away from their personal and professional lives to make a difference."
A special school board meeting will be held on July 11 at 2 p.m. to swear in the new board members. Dewane Wren will replace Lipvac and Derek Preece will take the place of Johansen. Mary Jo Marlow (Zone 5), who was re-elected for another term, will also be sworn in at the meeting.