Villarreal to leave A.L. school board

Published 10:20 am Thursday, July 8, 2010

After almost eight years of service, Albert Lea school board member Bill Villarreal has decided to step down from his duties. The board has chosen not to fill the position and the spot will be up for election this fall.

Villarreal is stepping down even though his position originally wasn’t up for election this fall. He ran for reelection in November of 2008 because he thought the school board needed some experienced members with all the staffing changes in the school district.

“I felt it was important that we had some veteran school board members on the board,” Villarreal said.

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He said being a member is time-consuming. His current job of director at the YMCA keeps him busy because of all the programs he manages. He found it easier to commit time to the board when he was a police officer.

“I think if I can’t fully commit it’s time to step down,” Villarreal said.

He mentioned some health issues as another reason he no longer wants to serve on the board. He said the school board members he served with are passionate, and they’re all there to represent the children.

Board Chairman Bill Leland said Villarreal will be missed and that he was an extremely valuable member, partly because of his expertise in negotiating.

“His commitment to getting into the schools and working with kids is very admirable,” Leland said.

Villarreal said he learned that being a member is often about making hard decisions, but also that he will be sad to leave.

“I’m going to miss it and the people,” Villarreal said. “I enjoyed it, but it was time-consuming and I can’t commit anymore.”

He made his announcement to the board on June 17, the evening of the tornado outbreak. Hearing of the tornado danger, the school board waited out the storm in a different room at Brookside Education Center. During the wait, board members called children and other relatives. After the danger passed, the meeting was swiftly finished.