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story.lead_photo.caption Blair Oaks High School in Wardsville Photo by Phillip Sitter / News Tribune.

The Blair Oaks R-2 School District has two open positions on its board of education following the resignations of Dr. Bill Duke and Kevin Ward at the board's regular meeting Tuesday night.

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Incumbents Duke and Ward were unopposed in the April election so by state statute no election was required, Superintendent Jim Jones said.

Blair Oaks Board of Education Secretary Sheila Reinsch certified to the board that both positions will be vacant effective today as indicated in the resignation letters from Duke and Ward.

"Neither man was aware at the time of the election of the opportunities that are before them now and neither could pass them up," Jones said.

Since neither member will reside in the school district after their re-location, both had to resign their positions.

Duke was first elected to the Blair Oaks Board in April 2012. He was re-elected in April 2015 before his second re-election in April.

Ward was first elected to the board in April 2015 before his most recent re-election in April.

"Their leadership, passion and commitment to the Blair Oaks School District have been greatly appreciated," Jones said. "They are two people that are driven to make whatever they are a part of the best it can be."

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"My time in the Blair Oaks school district has been very rewarding," Duke said. "All of my children have been exceptionally cared for and educated during our time in the district. This was certainly not an easy decision for my family and I, but God has taken us in a different direction and into a new community. I will continue to practice podiatric medicine at Jefferson City Medical Group. Blair Oaks has a reputation of creating winners in all facets of life and will undoubtedly continue to do so."

"I appreciate the opportunity to serve this great community," Ward said. "It was a pleasure to work with such dedicated community members that care deeply about student learning. My family has an opportunity that presented itself and will be moving out of district soon. I've truly enjoyed my time as a school board member."

According to district policy, the board will solicit applications for potential members to replace Duke and Ward. The board, or a committee designated by the board, will screen the applicants and will select no more than three applicants for the board to interview. Candidate interviews and the vote to fill the vacancies will occur in an open session meeting of the board.

"We'd like to have those persons in place by our July 10 board meeting," Jones said.

Those appointments will fill the vacancies in the interim until the next election, which is April 2. At that time, there will be four openings on the board — Duke and Ward's seats with two years terms and two seats with full three-year regular terms. Those spots are currently held by John Weber and Greg Russell.

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