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Hammond school officials

Walter Watkins, former superintendent of the School City of Hammond, and Deborah White, president of the Board of School Trustees, listen to the public during a School Board meeting in March 2012.

HAMMOND — The School City of Hammond is seeking a new board member after Board President Deborah White announced her resignation effective Nov. 1 at a Thursday night school board meeting.

White served 21 years in six terms on the school city's board. She’s leaving the position after she and her husband, who are both retired, decided to downsize and move out of the city of Hammond, White said Thursday, making her ineligible to continue serving on the board.

"I thank the community for their strength and belief in me for the last 21 years," White said. "It's very bittersweet. I was born, raised, educated and lived all but three years of my life in Hammond, so Hammond is in my heart."

Deborah White

Deborah White

The school city is now seeking letters of intent, which can be sent to the district's administrative center at 41 Williams Street. Superintendent Scott Miller said the board hopes to fill its vacancy by its November 12 public work session where the superintendent is expected to present proposals for the future of secondary education in the district, including a name for the new school being built behind Hammond High School.

School consolidation at the secondary level has been rumored for months as the district looks to open a new school and cut costs as result of declining enrollment and state funding. The district closed its Columbia, Lafayette and Miller schools at the end of the 2018-19 school year.

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In her 20-plus years with the school city, White has overseen great change in the district, working with three superintendents during her time on the board. She said she was most proud of efforts to pass the Hammond district's 2017 construction referendum, funding the new school in front of Hammond High.

Miller, who stepped into his current role as superintendent in April, said White's experience and mentorship has proved invaluable.

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"I am very grateful for her time in the city," Miller said. "Twenty-plus years — that's commendable. We'll definitely miss her knowledge."

Board Vice President Anna Mamala thanked White for her years of service.

"You're going to be truly missed," Mamala said turning to the outgoing president. "You have made a difference in the years that you have spent on this board." 

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Education Reporter

Carley Lanich covers education in Lake County and throughout the Region. She comes to Northwest Indiana from Indianapolis and is an IU-Bloomington grad.