Bethany Reilly appointed to fill Whately School Committee seat

Staff Writer
Published: 10/18/2020 2:54:59 PM

WHATELY — The Selectboard and Whately School Committee have appointed Bethany Reilly to fill the School Committee seat that was vacated by Katie Edwards last month.

As the role is an interim position, Reilly’s seat will up for election in June.

Reilly, who was one of four candidates for position, currently serves on the Whately Elementary School Council and has two daughters at Whately Elementary School, according to her letter of interest to the town.

“I feel that at this point in our elementary school journey,” Reilly wrote, “I have learned about the needs of the school as well as the families in order to represent both interests.”

According to her letter of interest, Reilly was on the hiring team for the current principal, Kristina Kirton — an experience that exposed her to “a very collaborative process” among parents, teachers and Whately residents.

“As a parent, I am very pleased with our current administration and staff, and would be honored to help further the progress at WES,” she wrote.

Reilly works in sales at a pharmaceutical company, and has experience managing finances through a family-owned business.

“I had my own experience at WES, and I know how far our school has come,” she continued. “I would love the chance to further help with the growth of Whately Elementary School by serving on the School Committee.”

In a joint meeting, the Selectboard and School Committee voted 3-to-2 in favor of appointing Reilly as an interim member of the committee. Selectboard members Joyce Palmer-Fortune and Chair Frederick Orloski abstained.

“It’s hard to pick among four good candidates. I don’t know them all,” Palmer-Fortune said. “The people who do know the candidates better than I have made their voices heard.”

The vote followed a brief discussion on whether a vote should be taken before the candidates have been given a chance to speak, or be interviewed, at a public meeting.

Selectboard member Jonathan Edwards said he was comfortable having a discussion on the candidates, but that he would prefer to hold off on a vote until a meeting where they all were present.

“It just seems fair to me,” he said. “Otherwise, it’s not as fair and transparent.”

Palmer-Fortune, however, said she didn’t necessarily share the same concerns as Edwards.

“We have four good candidates and their heart is in the right place, which is important,” Palmer-Fortune said. “They all have skills that would contribute to the School Committee, and I don’t really want to make more of a contest out of it than it is.”

School Committee Chair Maureen Nichols told the board she felt they had enough information to decide.

“They’re all really great,” Nichols said of the candidates. “We don’t always have this problem.”

Mary Byrne can be reached at or 413-930-4429. Twitter: @MaryEByrne

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