Bear Lake Board of Education elects new officers

BEAR LAKE — The Bear Lake Board of Education elected new officers for the upcoming year and welcomed a new member to the board at this week’s organizational

Members of the Bear Lake Schools Board of Education were honored by administration and staff for School Board Recognition Month. Shown in the front row (left to right) Shad Buckner, Bethany Merrill and Connie Hindman. Back row (left to right) Angela Eisenlohr, Eric Smith and Becky Fink. Missing from the photo is Greg Babinec.


Connie Ledford was selected to fill the vacant seat on the board that opened up following the resignation of Charlie Brooks in December. Ledford was interviewed and elected to the position at a special meeting of the board on Jan. 10. If she wants to retain the seat, she will have to run for another term in the November election.

Board members also agreed to keep the same slate of officers for the upcoming year and approved them on a 6-0 vote. They will include Bethany Merrill (president), Eric Smith (vice president), Becky Fink (secretary) and Greg Babinec (treasurer).

Another task of the organizational meeting is to set the meeting dates and times. Board members agreed to keep them them at 7 p.m. on the second Wednesday of the month at the school media center.

Committee assignments were also given out for the upcoming year. They include the following:

• Building and grounds: Fink, Angela Eisenlohr and Smith;

• Health, PE and athletics: Babinec, Fink and Smith;

• MASB legislatiion and liaison: Merrill;

• Finance: Merrill, Smith and Eisenlohr;

• Negotiations: Shad Buckner, Babinec and Smith;

• Personnel and student discipline: Smith, Fink and Merrill;

• Policy: Buckner, Ledford and Babinec;

• Manistee ISD representative: Smith; and

• Manistee County School Management Cooperative: Smith, Babinec and Ledford.

Board members were also informed of an honor that came to Samantha Mullet, who is an assistant coach with the Bear Lake Football Program. She was invited by the National Football League Football Operations department to attend the 2019 Women’s Careers in Football Forum on Feb. 26 and 27 in Indianapolis, Ind.

The forum serves to educate and connect qualified female candidates working in football operations. It will provide participants with the opportunity to interact with top executives in professional and college football programs in an effort to help grow their network and learn industry insights.

“That is quite an honor that she was invited to be a part of it,” said Merrill.

Prinicipal Sarah Harless gave here monthly report to the board and said students and staff are busy with testing at the school.

“We are in the midst of exams right now,” said Harless. “We also are starting our winter cycle of testing as NWEA testing is starting to occur so we can get that benchmark of where the students are right now. Then we will be going to our spring testing cycle of the PSAT the SAT and the M-STEP. We are doing a lot prep stuff for that because that will start when we get back from spring break.”

Harless also said Spirit Week leading up to the Homecoming activities will be held Jan. 28 to Feb.1 at the school. It will include decorating the hallways and plenty fun events for the students, including the game and dance.

Board members also heard from Harless that a representative from the Michigan Attorney General’s Office would be coming to the school to give a presentation on the OK2SAY program.

“That is the hotline they have to call for bullying and things like that,” said Harless. “They were supposed to come here on Monday, but we had to push it back because of exams. I was told they will be coming sometime later in the spring. They are going to do presentations for different levels. They will come one whole day and present to the lower elementary students, the middle and the high school students, so those presentations will be appropriate for each grade level.”

Superintendent Marlen Cordes gave the board an update on the final portions of their bond project.

“We are pretty much down where we have all the money spent or pretty much spent,” said Cordes. “We are still waiting for the final bill on the boiler controls. With the money we have left we still need to replace some of the windows in the elementary portion of the building.”

Board members also went into closed session at the end of the meeting for the purpose of discussing negotiations.


Posted by Ken Grabowski

Ken is News Advocate’s education reporter. He coordinates coverage for all Manistee County schools and West Shore Community College. He can be reached by phone at (231) 398-3125 or by email at

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