The Hannibal Board of Education finds itself in unchartered waters as it begins the process of replacing board member Terry Sampson, whose letter of resignation was accepted with reluctance during Wednesday night's meeting.

The Hannibal Board of Education finds itself in unchartered waters as it begins the process of replacing board member Terry Sampson, whose letter of resignation was accepted with reluctance during Wednesday night’s meeting.

“I’ve been on here (school board) 24 years and I’ve never seen it,” said Dr. David Jackson, board president. “We had to look at the policies to see how to do it. It’s very well defined exactly how you do it.”

Step one in the replacement process occurred Wednesday with the acceptance of Sampson’s resignation. Step two will occur soon when the school district advertises for people interested in serving out the remainder of Sampson’s term which expires in April 2018.

A special board meeting has been scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 8, at the board office, 4650 McMasters Avenue. During that gathering the remaining members will select Sampson’s successor.

Jackson indicated no decision has been made regarding whether the board’s decision will be made following candidate interviews, or be based solely on the letters of qualification that are submitted.

“It (interviews) could depend on how many applicants we get,” said Jackson, noting that the Nov. 8 meeting will be open to the public.

Sampson’s letter of resignation to Rich Stilley, district business manager and board secretary, was dated Oct. 9. In his one paragraph letter Sampson said his resignation was effective immediately “due to relocation outside of the district/state” for the remainder of his term.

Sampson’s decision was not a total bolt from the blue.

“He talked to me probably three weeks ago. He didn’t feel he could give the board the time it deserves,” said Jackson. “He was debating if it (resigning) was the right thing to do. It was a tough decision for him. He loves this school district.

“It’s the right thing for him and probably the board, too.”

Both Jackson and Superintendent Susan Johnson saluted Sampson for his nearly six years of service.

“Terry has been a great board member and supporter of the school district,” said Jackson. “I’m sorry to see him go. I can’t say that enough.”

“He’s a great guy,” added Johnson. “You couldn’t find someone who is more of a supporter of the Hannibal school district. I’m grateful for his years of service.

“It’s kind of bittersweet. I’m happy for him but a little bit sad to see him gone.”

Despite the loss of Sampson, Johnson doesn’t believe the board of education and school district will miss a beat.

“I think it’s going to be fine, I really do,” she said. “We’re going to make sure we get a person who has the best interests in mind of this school district. The remaining six board members will take them under their wing and show them the ropes. I’m just excited to have such a strong board that really works well together and can do those things.”

Reach reporter Danny Henley at danny.henley@courierpost.com