GREENFIELD — Dee Heckman has been appointed as the newest member of the Greenfield Union School District Board of Trustees.
Heckman, a retired teacher from Greenfield, was selected after a vacancy opened with the recent departure of Board President Cynthia Aguirre, who left for personal reasons.
The four remaining trustees — David Kong, Sonia Heredia, Denise Jaime and Jose Madrid — were faced with the decision to either interview and appoint a fifth member or run a special election, which could cost upwards of $50,000 to $60,000.
The board decided to interview Heckman, along with candidates Ruby Perez and Avelina Torres, during its July 8 meeting that was open to the public.
Heredia motioned for Perez to join the board, but it failed without a second. Madrid then motioned for Heckman’s appointment, which was seconded by Jaime. That motion received a unanimous vote of approval.
Madrid cited Heckman’s 29 years of service with Greenfield schools before her retirement in 2018 and her transparency as reasons behind his decision.
“We need someone that is community-driven, school-driven, supportive to the students,” Jaime said. “In all of her responses, that’s all I kept hearing.”
Jaime also reflected on Heckman’s teamwork responses.
“Out of the three, she was the only one that said she would be open-minded,” Jaime said. “When you’re on a board, you are not the main board member.”
In her role as a board trustee, Heckman said she would like to ensure students are prepared not only for their current grade, but also the next ones, by having foundational basic skills that are taught and by retaining arts within technical teaching.
Among other future goals Heckman noted was a want to look into building a new middle school and unifying the district with Greenfield High School.
“I retired in 2018 and my life has not been as wonderful without having service in it,” Heckman said. “I was sad to see the president leave, but I understand her father is very ill.”
Heckman said she applied for the position having viewed it as an opportunity to further serve her community, with a sense of service she said extended into her teaching philosophy.
“It wasn’t just a job to be a teacher here, it was a career and the dedication to my students and their families was important,” Heckman said.