L’erin Cross

L’erin Cross, a member of Forest Park’s School District 91 Board of Education, resigned effective June 3, a little more than a year into her term, due to her family relocating to Massachusetts. 

The board officially accepted her resignation during its June 2  meeting. Under state and district policies, the board must fill that vacancy within 45 days after June 3. Board president Kyra Tyler said it wanted to fill the seat as soon as possible, and they wanted to spread the word about the opening as far as possible. 

Cross grew up in the Kansas City, MO. Dealing with several learning disabilities growing up inspired her to get into education. Cross  received a bachelor’s degree in art education from the University of Central Missouri. She taught in several schools in Missouri. After moving to Forest Park, Cross got involved with the South PTO when her children started attending district schools. 

Cross was among the four candidates who ran for four board seats in 2021, and the only one who had never run for the position before. In a candidate survey submitted at the time, she said that she decided to run “because of the amazing people in Forest Park.”

 “When you move here, you quickly learn that many people you meet are actively serving in the community,” Cross said. “This is an inspiration that pushes me to also serve the community.”

She said that she wanted to see the district improve student test scores without “teaching to the test,” as well as make investments in math and reading programs “that work.”

Since there were as many candidates as there were open seats, all of them won by default.

Tyler said the board hasn’t had a vacancy in the past four years.

Any candidate applying to fill Cross’ vacancy faces the same eligibility requirements – they must be registered voters who have lived in Forest Park for at least one year. Each candidate must submit a resume and a letter explaining why they want to be on the board.

Tyler said that board vice president Shannon Wood and board secretary Monique Cotton-Yancy will review the resumes and interview the candidates because “they have the skill and the interest” to do that. She said more details about the application process will be posted on the district website.

The newly appointed member will have a seat until the April 2023 municipal election, when candidates will vie for a chance to serve out the remaining two years of Cross’ term. Those candidates will be in a different pool than candidates running for the three regular four-year seats currently held by Wood, Cotton-Yancy and board member Kathryn Valleau. There is nothing preventing the appointed board member from running for Cross’ seat themselves, nor is there anything preventing them from running for a four-year seat – but they would have to choose one or the other.

Before the vote to confirm Cross’ resignation, Tyler said that she appreciated her contributions to the district.

“We’re going to miss her participation and her really interesting perspective, and the hard work that she’s done for the board,” she said. “Thank you so much L’erin, for your service. It’s been really, really, really, really useful, and we appreciate you.”

“I have enjoyed it, and I hope and know that you’ll find someone who’s dedicated with helping you guys, and I appreciate the time that I got to have here,” Cross responded. 

“I’ve lived in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts – be careful,” Tyler quipped. “I’m kidding – they’re great.”