Appointed seat comes up for election in 2018

Following an unsuccessful run for a spot on the Hannibal Board of Education in April, Ryan Rapp was appointed to fill a vacant seat on the school board during a special meeting Wednesday night at the district’s central office.

“I feel great,” said Rapp following his appointment. “All the work starts now.”

To earn the appointment a candidate needed to receive a minimum of four votes from the board which consisted of six members following last month’s resignation of Terry Sampson.

Rapp proved to be the lone candidate brought up for a vote. He was nominated by Mark Bross. A “second” was then offered by Michael Holliday. In addition to Bross and Holliday, also casting “yes” votes were Dr. David Jackson and Linda Clark. Clark participated despite being out of town, thanks to an Internet connection.

J’Nelle Lee and Christinia Booth, who beat out Rapp for a school board seat in April by 209 votes, cast “no” votes.

Before the selection process commenced each of the seven candidates — Kathy Asbury, Laura Routh, Steven Carroll, Tom Pfeifer, J.R. Bareis, Rapp and Joe Pettit — were given up to five minutes to address the board regarding their interest and qualifications.

After listening to all the remarks, Jackson, board president, acknowledged the board faced a “daunting task.”

“It was an amazing group with seven fantastic people,” he said. “With such an outstanding field of candidates I could’ve been satisfied with a coin toss. All of them have their merits. But in the end the only thing that made Ryan Rapp stand out is the fact that he had run the last election and had numerous voters who supported him,” Jackson said. “But I could’ve been happy with any of the candidates. I would have loved to have taken them all, I truly would have.”

Rapp saluted his fellow candidates.

“What a group of candidates. I knew almost all those candidates, so when I walked in my heart was overwhelmed. It was great to see all of them in there,” he said. “It’s very amazing to see people are stepping up, taking pride in the community and going out and supporting the school district.”

Rapp joins the school board without a specific policy agenda.

“Of course education is No. 1. Being in the finance sector myself (I want to) make sure we’re on good financial grounds,” said Rapp, who is a commercial lender and vice president at Commerce Bank.

Each new school board member has a great deal to learn. How long will it take Rapp to climb the learning curve?

“Different people come up to speed at different times. It probably took me three years to get up to speed, that’s why I stayed so long,” chuckled Jackson. “In my estimation it takes a year because there’s so much history about things that have gone on and issues that maybe haven’t been dealt with for a while. I would say it will take at least a year just to learn the procedures and how things work.”

The board vacancy came about on Oct. 9 when Sampson, a member of the school board for nearly six years, submitted a letter of resignation. Sampson said his resignation, which was effective immediately, was “due to (his) relocation outside of the district/state” for the remainder of his term.

Rapp will serve out the remainder of Sampson’s term which expires in April 2018. At that time the position will come up for election.

“I hope all those candidates run come this next election,” said Rapp.

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