The Leavenworth Board of Education has a new member.

The Leavenworth Board of Education has a new member.

Board members voted Monday during a special meeting to appoint Dannielle Wells to a vacant position on the Leavenworth Board of Education.

Following the meeting, Wells was sworn in by Board Clerk Kevin Gullett.

Board members approved the appointment after interviewing Wells and two other candidates, Jeffrey Howards and Troy Smith.

"I want to serve," Wells told board members before the vote.

She described herself as a long-time actively involved parent in the district. She was involved in a bond issue, which was approved by voters earlier this years.

Board members appointed Wells to fill a vacancy created by the resignation of former board member Jose Morales. He resigned from the position last month.

Wells has been appointed to serve on the Leavenworth Board of Education through the next school board election in 2019.

During the meeting, board member Loyal Torkelson said he did not think board members should appoint anyone to fill the vacancy.

"That should be left to the voters," he said.

Torkelson said the Leavenworth board can make do with six members until next year's school board election.

Board President Mike Carney said a person elected next year would not take office until January 2020.

He said a six-member board could be deadlocked for more than a year.

"I think we do need it," Carney said of the appointment.

Wells said one of the strengths of the school district is the leadership of Superintendent Mike Roth and the support given to him by the board. She pointed to the direction of the district as a strength.

"We need to get the community on board," she said.

After the interviews, board member Nancy Klemp asked if the board would go into executive session.

Board members often meet behind closed doors in executive session to discuss personnel issues. But Roth said board members could not meet in executive session to discuss an appointed position.

Carney asked for nominations.

Board Vice President Alisa Murphy nominated Wells. Board member Doug Darling seconded the nomination.

Klemp nominated Smith.

Klemp argued Smith, an African-American, would provide diversity. Klemp also argued that Smith may provide another dimension because he is younger than the current board members.

The nomination of Smith was seconded by Torkelson.

There were no other nominations.

Carney first called for a vote for the nomination of Wells.

Four members voted in favor of the nomination. Klemp voted against the motion. Torkelson said he was abstaining.

Even though Wells' nomination already had passed, Carney called for a vote on the nomination of Smith. Only Klemp and Torkelson voted for the nomination.

Carney and Darling suggested that Howards and Smith run for the school board in next year's election.

"I think you're fully qualified candidates," Darling said.

Twitter: @LVTNewsJohnR