After seven ballots and more than three hours of interviewing, Christine Misback was chosen Tuesday night to fill a vacant seat on the Pine-Richland School Board.
Misback was among four candidates who had applied to fill the Region 2 seat that opened up when former board member Scott Stedeford resigned. Region 2 covers parts of Richland and Pine townships.
Gary Hitechew, Brian Copple and Christopher Cafardi also interviewed to serve out the term that expires at the end of this year.
Misback will be sworn in Wednesday so she can begin work immediately on the district's $63 million budget, which will be up for a vote at Misback's first meeting on May 9.
School board members praised all four candidates during the interview process. The candidates gave opening and closing statements; in between, school board members asked a series of questions.
The voting quickly narrowed down to a choice between Misback and Hitechew.
Five votes on the nine-member board were needed to declare a winner. Seven members were present for Tuesday night's meeting and for quite a while, the scales were tipped in Hitechew's favor with a 4-3 vote.
Board members Kevin Nigh and Dennis Sundo consistently voted for Misback. Hitechew had the support of board directors Jeffrey Banyas and Therese Dawson throughout the evening.
Board President Stephen Hawbaker and Director Richard Herko eventually switched their support from Hitechew to Misback .
Meanwhile, Director Aafke Loney switched her support from Misback to Hitechew and then back again.
Board Director Robert Necciai was absent.
Misback described herself as an active volunteer in the schools, who previously worked as a physical therapist. Because of moves made by the Misback family, her children have studied in schools in Germany and Florida, as well as Pennsylvania.
She said she felt her global exposure gave her a unique perspective.
Misback also said she plans to run for the seat through a write-in campaign; she did not get the necessary petitions signed in time to have her name placed on the ballot for the May 17 primary.
Hitechew stressed his financial experience as the president of Laurel Capital Corp., which provides financial solutions to municipalities and school districts, he said.
He also has been active with Pine-Richland Youth Center, Pine-Richland Baseball Softball Association and various booster groups, as well as serving on school district committees.
Several school board members said they had worked with Hitechew on different projects.
Brian Copple said his experience encompasses academia and industry; he works in technology management at the University of Pittsburgh.
Christopher Cafardi emphasized his experience as an attorney and a former chairman of the North Catholic School Board.