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The Hamburg School Board Tuesday broke a two-month stalemate on electing a board president by voting 4-2 to name Sandra L. Holden as its new leader, succeeding Eileen

Mrs. Holden, who served in the mid-1980s as board president, had been serving as acting president during the summer when the board deadlocked on a decision. Also in a 4-2 vote, Trustee Mark Walling was elected vice president, succeeding Marian Meyers, who was absent Tuesday.

"I feel a challenge before us to continue to bring our school district in line with the new assessments," Mrs. Holden said, adding that she plans to bring effective leadership as board president.

Afterward, she said she never would have predicted her election to the post and yet kiddingly described it as "a last hurrah." In 1995, the board asked Mrs. Holden back to serve in the unexpired term of Trustee Laura Burns, who was ill and lost her battle against cancer. A year later, Mrs. Holden was elected to a three-year term.

Trustee Steven Hanson provided one of the critical votes for Mrs. Holden Tuesday, since in July he had supported Mrs. Rucker. Hanson nominated Mrs. Holden for president, with Trustee Gary Vara seconding his support. Until Tuesday, Vara had abstained without reason on all board president votes.

Trustees Holden, Vara and Walling voted for Mrs. Holden, in addition to her casting a vote for herself. Voting no were Mrs. Rucker and Trustee
Andrew Loeb.

When it came time to vote for vice president, Mrs. Rucker nominated Loeb but Mrs. Holden's nomination of Walling won out. The votes fell along the same lines, 4-2, for Walling as vice president.

The board was divided over its board president at its July reorganizational meeting, when it voted twice, in 3-3 tie votes, for Mrs. Rucker and Ms. Meyers. A paper ballot didn't break it, either. Vara abstained during each of those votes.

Tuesday, Mrs. Rucker didn't let his previous absentions go unnoticed. "Six weeks ago, this matter would have been taken care of, had a board member used his right to vote and should have at the time," she said. Vara did not respond.

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