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School board selects Elizabeth Pitman as newest trustee

by WHITNEY ENGLAND
Whitefish Pilot | February 2, 2022 1:00 AM

A local veterinarian, Dr. Elizabeth Pitman, was unanimously chosen the during a meeting last week to fill a vacant Whitefish School Board trustee position.

In the special board meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 25 the board interviewed three candidates whom submitted letters of interest to the district. The candidates included Ryder Delaloye, Leanette Kearns and Pitman. During the interviews, current trustees determined all three applicants would fill the position well and represent the community in a productive manner, however Pitman’s background and diverse perspective tipped the scale in her favor.

Pitman grew up in Whitefish and as she says, is a homegrown product of the Whitefish school system. She attended school in Whitefish from kindergarten through 12th grade, moved away for college pursuits and then came back to the town she loves and cares greatly about, she told the board during her interview.

“Whitefish has been my true home for 38 years,” she said. “The reason for that is twofold, one because of the education I received here, but also just the community.”

Pitman went on to explain that her interest in serving on the school board revolves around the outstanding education she personally received from Whitefish schools as well as a desire to be involved on a community level. As far as her inspiration from her own schooling, she stated that while attending whitefish schools she felt the teachers were loving and supportive while the academic preparation was the needed foundation for future success.

“Whitefish School District was a place I truly felt I could be myself, and in addition to that, I received an education that I can say first hand prepared me for a very rigorous college experience,” she said during the interview. “Those foundations that I received here were hands down the base for my success of where I am today.”

She added that the community and the school district go hand-in-hand, and believes its important for the community to remain supportive of the schools as it always has been.

Pitman also doesn’t have kids of her own, though she has a niece and nephew in Whitefish Schools that keep her updated on school happenings, another component that the board felt would offer a differing point of view on items.

“Not having children of my own in the school system gives me an objectivity and perspective that others may not possess,” Pitman wrote in her letter of interest.

Pitman, as a veterinarian, also doesn’t have an professional background in education which is something trustees on the board believed would offer a unique perspective as many of the current members do have an educational background. Additionally trustees were intrigued to have a candidate join the board that grew up in Whitefish and attended school here not so long ago.

“I think all three candidates would be great…” Board Chair Katie Clarke expressed. “But I think we already have a lot of people with educational backgrounds on our board, so having another perspective I think would be helpful.”

During public comment Whitefish High School Principal Kerry Drown added that he has professional experience with Pitman dating all the way back to when she was a student in the district and believed her insight would be a great addition to the school board.

“I think Dr. Pitman brings a unique skillset to the table, having gone through this district like we said, having committed to coming back and being a professional in this district,” Drown said. “I’ve had experience with her as a professional all the way back to when she was a student. I really believe she could add quite an element to our board.”

The Whitefish School Board will officially appoint Pitman as a trustee at a special meeting ahead of the regular school board business meeting on Feb. 8.