Conley unseats incumbent White

By Nancy Gutierrez

Joe Conley has worked with theExeter Union High School District for 39 years, teaching and coaching wrestling. He was even the lead negotiator for teacher contracts with the school district. Now he will be on the other side of the table as he starts his term as the newest member of the EUSD Board.

Conley unseated nine-year board member Mike White and received a majority of the votes with 38 percent. Second to Conley was incumbent Bob Todd with 32 percent. Conley's experience with the school district was probably a factor in the upset. He started working for EUHSD in 1965 as a Latin teacher and wrestling coach. After Latin was dropped form the curriculum Conley took on English, social science, math and physical education classes.

"Latin was a neat subject to offer," he said. "But it's a small school and there weren't enough kids interested."

Conley spent eight years as the Athletic Director and five years as the activities director. In addition to coaching wrestling, Conley also coached track, and cross country. He retired in 2002, but has continued to coach wrestling. Conley said his background and experiences will prove helpful in making sound decisions for the district.

His main expectation as of now is to get up to speed on what the board is doing.

"I want to find out what is happening now and get a handle on it," he said.

Conley will be sworn in on Dec. 7. He said he is already acquainted with his fellow board members from his work as the teachers association president and is looking forward to working with them and contributing his ideas.

"I think I have the ability to present a teachers perspective on issues," he said. "It will be refreshing."

Superintendent Renee Whitson said the transition of a new board member will be easy and that it is important for the board to be a strong collective group.

"Someone who has served as a part of the educational family has an idea of the ebb and flow of education," Whitson said.

Todd was elected to his second term on the board. He said his initial reason for running was to quell any animosity that there was between the high school and the district office.

"I think that has subsided a little," Todd said. "There was distrust. I think there has been open lines of communication. We're on the right track and need to keep heading in that direction."

Todd said he thinks Conley will bring a good understanding of how schools run, to the board.

"That is something we both bring. We've been on the inside and now have the opportunity to bring things that others might not see," Todd said. "Joe knows that it is about the kids."

Todd said he is looking forward to seeing how the new makeup of the board plays out.

Both Conley and Todd thaked their suporters and giving them the opportunity to serve.

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