Amy Felton mostly sat and listened during her first District 97 school board meeting as its newest trustee on Oct. 25.
She also pecked away on her touch-screen computer during the proceedings. When board President Peter Barber did his usual round-robin for trustees’ questions and/or comments during discussion periods, he made sure to include Felton. She politely declined most of the time.
Toward meeting’s end, Felton said that though she had a lot of studying to do, all in all, her inaugural meeting as the newest D97 board member went smoothly.
The married mother of two was sworn in earlier in the meeting. Felton was among 14 hopefuls who applied for the open seat, which became vacant when Jennifer Reddy resigned last month to move with her family to New York.
The Oak Park elementary school board has seated three new members this year — Jim O’Connor and Denise Sacks were elected to the board in April. The seating of its newest member was the first order of business at last Tuesday’s meeting. Felton was approved unanimously by all six trustees, and she will serve out the remainder of Reddy’s term through 2013. Felton has never served on a school board before.
A part-time real estate attorney, she is a former president and secretary of Parenthesis Family Center in Oak Park. After the meeting, Felton told Wednesday Journal she decided to apply for the seat after completing her tenure as co-chair of the Holmes School PTO.
“I felt it was the right time,” she said. “I’m looking forward to getting up and running.”
Barber said Felton stood out among the applicants. Her experience as both a parent and community leader impressed members. The board planned to choose a new member by Nov. 8 and started interviewing prospects two weeks ago. But Barber said there was no need to do a second round of interviews after they heard from Felton.
“She’s been involved in the community at the schools and beyond,” he said. “We liked her background and perspective. And she’s a great person. All of the members had positive feelings for Amy, so there was no need to go to the next round of interviews; we wanted to get her seated and get her quickly up to speed.”
Before swearing in Felton, Barber noted the applicants who weren’t chosen.
“Virtually all of them were qualified and virtually all of them would have made great board members. … After we met with everyone and began to talk, it became clear very early on that there was one person who really stood out above the other 13 qualified folks,” Barber said.
Felton has lived in Oak Park for 13 years and has two kids attending Brooks Middle School. Her husband is also an attorney.