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Ashland School Board member Ruth Alexander resigns

After serving on the board for seven years, Ashland School Board member Ruth Alexander has resigned for personal reasons.

The board unanimously approved Alexander's resignation Monday. Her last board meeting will be June 11.

"Public education has and always will be a passion of mine," Alexander said. "I really feel both honored and pleased that I was able to participate, because it's so important."

Alexander's resignation was "reluctantly approved," said board Chairwoman Carol Davis.

Alexander said illness and "family upheaval" have made this year "really hard," and that she felt another person would be better suited for the position.

Alexander was first elected to the board in 2005. In 2009, she chose not to run for a second four-year term because of personal reasons, but stepped up for re-election when no one else came forward.

Her current term ends in June 2013.

People interested in the position can pick up an application from the district's office at 885 Siskiyou Blvd., or by applying online at www.ashland.k12.or.us, Davis said.

The application deadline is June 5. The board will select Alexander's replacement during the June 11 meeting.

During her tenure on the board, Alexander has been involved in the high school redesign process, second language committee and farm-to-school program.

She is also a volunteer tutor for the district.

During the April 9 board meeting, Alexander questioned whether the board should continue to support football as an extracurricular activity because of research that shows playing the sport can lead to brain injury.

"It's not that I don't like football "… it's that this is becoming apparent to everyone that head injuries are really serious," she said during the meeting. "I believe that the goal of K-12 education is to help children develop critical thinking skills, learn how to analyze data, open their minds to the world in which they live, and it seems to me our job is to promote the development of healthy brains in whatever ways we can.

"After all these reports, I can't help but worry that we are doing our students a disservice by encouraging them to play tackle football," she said.

Alexander's comment was informational only, and the board took no action.

Reach reporter Sam Wheeler at 541-499-1470 or email swheeler@dailytidings.com.