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Houghton, Lieberman win Nettle Creek At-Large

By TRAVIS WEIK - tweik@thecouriertimes.com

Last night wrapped up the inaugural race for at-large seats on the Nettle Creek School Corporation School Board.

Incumbent Marcie Houghton, who formerly represented Perry Township, won her bid for an at-large seat. Shaun Lieberman beat out the rest of the pack for the second at-large seat.

In terms of strict numbers, Lieberman got 88 votes (24.58 percent) and Houghton got 64 votes (17.88 percent) of the total 358 ballots cast in their race.

Lieberman will add “school board member” to his growing list of community involvement activities in January. Along with serving Hagerstown schools, Lieberman is also the current vice president of the Hagerstown Planning Commission and a member of the Hagerstown Optimist club and Hagerstown Little League.

“I have always been highly motivated to improve our community, particularly for our youth,” Lieberman said. “This is just one more opportunity to make that contribution.”

Lieberman said the Nettle Creek School Board needs to focus on ways to attract and retain faculty, staff and administration that will make Hagerstown students successful.

Lieberman wants to make sure the Hagerstown community stays informed about what’s going on in the schools. He also wants to make sure Nettle Creek schools maintain a strong sense of community and pride.

Houghton joined the school board four years ago and will start her second term in January. Before joining the school board, she was an employee of the Nettle Creek School Corporation.

“I was a school bus driver for 14 years with our corporation and did not like the way things where being handled,” Houghton said. “I felt as though I wasn’t being heard as an employee or as a concerned parent.”

Since joining the board, Houghton has done her best to stay up on changes to state laws affecting local schools. She’s attended many seminars and training sessions provided by the Indiana School Boards Association (ISBA). 

Like Lieberman, Houghton’s top priority is to keep and maintain teachers at Hagerstown schools.

“They are underpaid but are the most important aspect of our school, community and our students,” Houghton said. “I would like to see a competitive salary for all of our teachers and staff.”

Houghton also hopes by keeping the teaching staff up, Nettle Creek will be able to start offering more Advance Placement (AP) classes.

“I also want to implement an ‘Outsourced Exit Interview,’” Houghton said. “I believe we are not getting the truth on why we are losing so many excellent teachers.”

The Hagerstown community can be a partner in supporting student success by offering externships and other mentoring opportunities for the Tigers, Houghton said.

“I love my school and community and want what is best for our children,” she said.

Other competitors in the Nettle Creek At-Large race were: Theresa Berry with 47 votes (13.13 percent); Shawn Murphy with 58 votes (16.20 percent); Joseph Sorrell with 42 votes (11.73 percent); and Jacob Thalls with 59 votes (16.48 percent).

The Nettle Creek School Board agreed last year to update the way voters choose board representatives.

The new approach groups Precinct #1 in Liberty Township with Jefferson Township for District A. Dalton and Perry Township will make up District B, and Clay and Harrison Township will be District C.

Board members for those districts will have to reside in that area and be elected by other people in those districts.

Two district representatives will be selected during one election cycle and one will be elected during the next cycle. 

The remaining four at-large board seats, including Lieberman and Houghton’s, are chosen by all voters within the school corporation limits.

The other two at-large seats will be up for grabs in 2020.

The Courier-Times made several attempts to get a photo of Lieberman but was unsuccessful as of presstime Wednesday.