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Keith Millikan

Keith Millikan always let you know where he stood. Not one to mince words, Millikan was a member of the Anderson Community Schools Board of Trustees for almost 20 years.

Millikan, 75, stepped down recently from his position on the board, ending a career of more than 50 years in education, during which he taught junior high and high school, was president of the Anderson Federation of Teachers and served on the school board.

Millikan’s departure leaves a position vacant on the board, which is compelled to conduct the appointment process with transparency.

That appears to be exactly what the board will do. The following schedule has been set:

  • July 1: Application period opens. Applicants must be 21 or older and live in the ACS district. Applications should be submitted to the office of ACS Superintendent Felix Chow, 101 W. 29th St.
  • July 11: Application period closes at 4 p.m.
  • July 25: The ACS board will conduct public interviews with selected candidates at 6 p.m. in the Anderson High School auditorium.
  • July 26: The board will vote to fill the position at a special public meeting at 6 p.m. in the Anderson High School auditorium.

Board members elected in contested races during the spring of 2010 — Scott Green, Tyrone Vertner and Ben Gale — ran together in a bloc. Transparency was a main plank of their campaign platform, and they were supported by allies who had been critical of the back-room politics of the previous board.

So it’s good to see, in this case, that they’re following up on their promise of better communication with the public and greater transparency.

Millikan’s departure creates an opportunity to add another forward-looking member to the board. But there is danger in adding a person whose background and philosophy is too similar to the majority of the current board. A variety of perspectives is needed; respectful disagreement can be healthy.

If you live in the ACS district and have a deep interest in education and in community service, consider applying for the position. It comes with lots of criticism and difficult decisions to make, but the rewards of helping to improve the quality of local schools can be highly gratifying.

Millikan has done his public service. It’s time for someone else to fill the vacuum left by his departure.

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