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April 6, 2013

Pelham chooses fifth School Board member

PELHAM — The School Board has found its fifth member.

“Carl Wiswell is a recently retired Air Force officer,” School Board Chairman Brian Carton said. “He’s enthusiastic, articulate, and seems like a genuinely nice guy with a lot of smarts.”

The board unanimously voted Wednesday to give the job to Wiswell. Six people applied for the post. He will be sworn in to a one-year term when the board meets April 17.

“It was no easy decision to select one board member from an such an outstanding group of people,” Carton said. “There was a lot of bench strength in the room Wednesday night, and the board was impressed and encouraged by such a turnout.”

Wiswell, 43, is project manager for a defense contractor, Oasis Systems in Lexington. He and his wife have two children in Pelham schools.

Wiswell was an intelligence officer who served in the Middle East, including briefly in Iraq, during his Air Force career.

“Communication is the key part of all this,” Wiswell said of service on the School Board.

He said it is up to the board to explain decisions to voters and make them aware the right questions are being asked, so people will support the board through Town Meeting.

Wiswell rounds out a board that, besides Carton, includes veterans Deb Ryan and Megan Larson and newly elected member Tom Gellar.

The town had a hard time coming up with five board members this year.

Rob Hardy and Andy Ducharme decided against running for re-election and Gellar, a last-minute filer, was the only name on the ballot.

State law empowered the School Board to appoint someone, so the board asked people to apply and participate in interviews.

Six people, including Wiswell, did so.

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