More that two months after Julie Bartolomeo abruptly resigned from the Lindenhurst Board of Education, the vacant seat has been filed.
On Wednesday, trustees unanimously approved the appointment of Richard Koehler to the nine member board. To maintain his seat, he will need to run during this coming spring’s board of education election.
Board president Donna Hochman said that Koehler was one of four candidates interviewed by the BOE earlier this month to fill the empty seat.
Bartolomeo resigned in October following allegations of underage drinking at her home. Just days after she stepped down, her husband, James Bartolomeo, was arrested and charged by police with allegedly providing alcoholic beverages to a group teenagers at the couple’s home.
Following Wednesday’s meeting, Koehler told Patch that his interest in joining the board of education was raised following his family’s experience during Hurricane Sandy.
“I have come to meetings for a longtime and sat in the background, but the recent hurricane hit my family pretty hard,” he said. “The way the community came out and supported us during a difficult time inspired me to step up and do what I can do to promote education in the district.”
A Massapequa native, Koehler moved to Lindenhurst in 1996 and has four children, with three currently enrolled in the school district. His eldest child is a recent graduate.
While he has not previously run for the board of education, Koehler has served Lindenhurst youth. For the past four years, he has been active in the Lindenhurst Soccer Club and serves as the organization’s first vice president.