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CASPER, Wyo. — In the end, a plaque and a card and many thanks are how school board members are paid for their time.

Trustees Jim Bush and Shannon Jackett were recognized for their service to the Natrona County School District during their last board meeting Monday night.

Jackett was first elected to the board in 2002, and Bush joined in 2004. Jackett served two years as chair of the board before Steve Degenfelder was elected to the position in 2008. Jackett chose not to run for re-election. Bush missed being re-elected by 100 votes.

Jackett said she was just as nervous for her last meeting as her first. She said she'll still be involved in education, but on a more local level in her daughters' schools.

The board has a lot on its plate, she said, and members need to put their individuality aside to work together as a team to ask the right questions and make tough decisions.

“We have nine wonderfully strong individual people that need to come together and work as a team to move the district forward,” Jackett said.

She thinks the new trustees Dave Applegate and Pat Keefe ran for the right reasons and will freshen up the board.

Advice for the newcomers?

“Follow what you believe, sit back and listen for a little while and really put children first,” Jackett said.

Bush added that members should follow the money.

“Pay attention to what's put before them, read things carefully and make their own judgment based on information they get and how that is going to affect the bigger picture of the students of this county,” he said.

He encouraged new members to speak up and speak out.

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“They have a huge responsibility to the electorate, and folks have a lot of confidence in them, so they better perform,” Bush said.

Degenfelder said he's looking forward to working with Applegate and Keefe, but he won't as their chairman. He won't seek re-election to the post during officer elections in December.

“Our board needs to grow and everybody needs to take a turn at being chair,” Degenfelder said.

Applegate and Keefe have already been sworn in and will take office Dec. 1. The board next meets Dec. 13.

Contact Jackie Borchardt at jackie.borchardt@trib.com or 307-266-0593.

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