Familiar face fills D2 board vacancy

Former member Keith Varney appointed to fifth seat

There is a new face on the Harrison School District 2 Board of Education. A new one, but also a familiar one.

Keith Varney took the oath of office Thursday night to fill a vacancy created last year by Josh Hitchcock, who relocated out of the district for career purposes. Varney’s appointment means the board is once again operating at full capacity.

Varney, 50, will serve the remainder of Hitchcock’s term, which will be up for re-election in November. A former 5 ½-year member of the district board, Varney said he was inspired to fill out the term after attending a superintendent’s forum on March 5.

“I had at least five people come up to me and say, ‘you know we have a vacancy on the board,’” he said. “I thought about it and was like, ‘yeah!’”

Keith Varney (right) settles into his seat on the Harrison School District 2 Board of Education next to board Treasurer Kelley Pomis. Varney took the oath of office Thursday, April 18, filling a seat that has been vacant since 2018. [Express photo/Regan Foster]

Varney is the father of two Sierra High School alumni and a computer programmer. His long relationship with the district – he first served on the board in 2005, he said – and personal connection as a parent and resident motivated his decision.

“I have the ability, I have the time and I have a lot of catching up to do,” he said with a grin. “The timing was very good.”

Varney’s seat will be up for grabs in November, and while he hasn’t written off the possibility of running, he’s not declaring his candidacy at this point, either.

“The first thing I’m going to do is a lot of homework,” he said. “At the end of the day, there are 11,000-plus kids out there and there (was) an empty chair here. I have the time to come in and help out.

“I’m just thrilled to be here.”

With its fifth and final member in place, the board also voted on its leadership structure. Steven Seibert will retain control of the gavel as board president; Linda Pugh was re-elected vice president; Jeannie Orozco stayed in place as board secretary; and Kelley Pomis retained her post as treasurer.

Related content: Birhanzel, Rogerson to keep D2 leadership

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