Garlough chosen as new trustee
"I feel it's a great privilege and honor to be able to do something to help the schools," Garlough said in an interview with the South Jetty. "I just want to do what I can do to keep things going smoothly."
Meeting on Thursday, July 12, trustees voted to appoint Garlough to replace Bob Smith, who resigned from Place 4 on June 21 with plans to move away from Port Aransas.
Garlough was set to be sworn in at a board meeting scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday, July 18, as this edition of the South Jetty was going to press.
Garlough was one of five people who applied to serve in Place 4. Also applying were former trustee Chuck Borders; Christina Milligan, manager at the Pelican Condominiums and Beach House; Nancy Vaughn, a former teacher and counselor; and Mary Goodwin, a former teacher.
Trustees discussed the applicants for about two hours in closed session before holding the vote in open session.
Trustees Rick Adams, Margaret Price, Ken Dunton, Lorraine Stern and Ann Appling voted for Garlough. Trustee Rita Reed voted for Milligan.
The five applications represented a leap in community interest in serving on the school board. Three open places on the board attracted only one race for the May elections this year, and that race, for Place 5, was between only two candidates - Borders and Reed. Smith ran unopposed for Place 4, and Adams had no challenger when he ran for re-election to Place 6.
All of the applicants for Place 4 were well qualified, said Adams, the school board president.
"They all had strengths," Adams said. "They all had talents. It was a very, very difficult decision."
A big part of the board's decision, Adams said, "revolved around the letters" submitted by the applicants to the board.
"The primary reason I would like to be on the board is to ensure that Port Aransas Independent School District remains a sovereign entity and not annexed by a county or consolidated school district," Garlough wrote, in part. "I believe smaller school districts offer a strong foundation for future education, life skills and self-awareness for each individual student. Port Aransas offers a unique opportunity for the parents to be directly involved in their children's education and the policies of the school district.
"The board will face difficult challenges in this changing community due to size and financial constraints," Garlough wrote. "I would like the privilege of serving the school district and have a voice in those decisions for my children's future."
Board members liked Garlough because he seems to have "a freshness" and "a willingness to kind of think outside the box," Adams said.
After Smith resigned, trustees asked that applicants for Place 4 submit resumes and letters explaining their interest in the position. The deadline was July 12.
By law, the appointee to Place 4 can serve only until May next year. A city election then will be held to fill the spot for the two years left on the three-year term to which Smith was elected. Garlough said he did not know yet if he would run.
Garlough, 45, has lived in Port Aransas for eight years. In addition to working as a building contractor, he also owns rental properties, he said.
Garlough is married to Patty Garlough, who works as a lab technician at the University of Texas at Austin Marine Science Institute. They have two children: Maddie, 5, who will be in kindergarten this fall; and Forrest, 7, who will be in first grade. Both children are enrolled at H.G. Olsen Elementary School.