Cook eases into new seat on LCSD board

Cook selected to replace vacant seat left by former LCSD president Mark Lawson

An unfamiliar feeling overwhelmed Donald Cook. Walking out of his interview with the Liverpool Central School District Board of Education, the aspiring board member stopped and started questioning himself about his performance.

As Cook replayed scenes from the interview in his head, the uncertainty continued to build. But after a few minutes, it finally hit him.

"I'm retired and I haven't been in an interview in so long, that it's scary," Cook said. "I honestly couldn't tell you how I felt after the interview. Last time I was interviewed was 12 to 13 years ago, when I got out of the insurance business and went to work for the American Heart Association."

Fortunately for Cook, the time off didn't thwart his chances. After considering and interviewing four candidates, the eight-person administration selected Cook to replace former President Mark Lawson, who resigned on Aug. 25 to dedicate more time to his church, on the board.

Cook's addition was the culmination of the board's two-month scramble for tranquility. Following Lawson's surprising resignation, the board was forced to rearrange its procedures and promoted Patricia Mouton to president.

Striving to swiftly fill the vacancy, they placed advertisements in The Post-Standard, urging interested community members to apply for the position. Donna Marsh O'Connor, a LCSD board member, outlined specific criteria that she searched for in a prospective counterpart.

"I wanted to see someone who was open-minded, had fairness, and integrity," O'Connor said. "I wanted someone, who in fiscally hard times, will make responsible decisions about where the taxpayers' money goes because right now, we're in a situation where tax payers are very frightened and they're at a heightened level of vigilance."

Working as an underwriting manager for an insurance company for 25 years, Cook boasted a sound, business background within in his credentials.

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