Mat-Su School Board

Newcomer Jubilee Underwood and returning member Tom Bergey were sworn in to the Mat-Su School Board Wednesday.

A pair of recently-elected board members were sworn in, but the Mat-Su School Board meeting came to a quick end after the new board failed to elect its new president Wednesday evening in Palmer.

Mat-Su Superintendent Dr. Randy Trani was forced to adjourn the meeting less than a half-hour after it started.

“We don’t have a majority vote, so I have to close the Nov. 17, 2021, meeting,” Trani said.

There were three separate votes, with a five-minute recess between votes, and neither candidate — Ole Larson and Ryan Ponder —reached the minimum four votes needed to win. Trani said if a decision is not made within the first three votes, the board would have to recess and postpone the action to the next scheduled meeting.

School board member Tom Bergey nominated Larson and Ponder was nominated by member Jim Hart. Larson served as the past president.

The board will have another opportunity to vote for a president at its next meeting, Dec. 1.

Bergey, a returning board member and newcomer Jubilee Underwood were both sworn in by Trani after winning their seats in the Nov. 2 borough election. Bergey defeated challenger Lori Berrigan 1,726-1,102 in the District 1 race. Underwood beat Jennifer Walther 968-526 in the District 4 race for a seat vacated by former longtime school board member Dr. Sarah Welton.

Trani and the district recognized more than a dozen education support personnel following the meeting. The list included Sheila Bailey, Colony High server and cashier; Joanne Cassidy, Susanna Valley Jr/Sr High custodian; Shane Cobb, IT support specialist; Brandi Cooley, Birchtree Charter assistant; Keri Crawford, Machetanz Elementary special education assistant; Erin Dwyer, personnel support specialist; Marilyn Frantzich, Colony middle server and cashier; Sandra Havard, Swanson Elementary special education assistant; Taig Hoeger, warehouse inventory technician; Laura Kelly Shaw Elementary special education assistant; Shelly McGinn, Butte Elementary special education assistant; Miguel Velez Moreno, Mat-Su Central IT specialist; Nimfa Wadleigh, Mat-Su Day School special education assistant; Keith Williams, Palmer High tutor and advisor.

Contact Frontiersman managing editor Jeremiah Bartz at

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