AMA ESD elects two new board members

ALPENA – The Alpena-Montmorency-Alcona Educational Service District Board of Education elected two new members to serve as interim members filling out the remainder of John Pines and Ralph Stepaniak’s board seats until the election next June.

Gailen Thornton of Hubbard Lake and Kevin E. Brown of Alpena were selected to fill the empty board seats at a special board of education meeting Thursday night. Both candidates went through the application process and completed a board interview before being selected.

“They will be on the board between now and the next board election,” superintendent Brian Wilmot said. “We’re just happy to have two great candidates and are excited about both gentleman. I think they bring a lot to the board and will be very good board members.”

Thornton is now retired, but served as a high school geometry teacher and head football coach in his over 25-year career in education. He moved to Hubbard Lake in 1997, and has since been active in many boards around the area in an effort to become more involved and give back to his community.

“I always wanted to work in a school,” Thornton said. “I retired from teaching and since then, decided I wanted to do something for the community. Serving on this board is just another great opportunity and responsibility.”

Brown moved to the Alpena area to work as safety and health director at Alpena Power Company several years ago, and he and his family fell in love with the area.

“I see some of the needs in the community, and I like to keep active and see collaboration between organizations,” Brown said.

Brown also serves as the president of the Northeast Michigan United Way, and enjoys being involved in several organizations and groups that take an active approach to giving back to the community.

Pines and Stepaniak both served on the board for seven years, starting in July of 2007. Wilmot said both members decided it was time to continue on with different things and they left on good terms with the board.

In other business, the board also moved the date of the next regular meeting to July 14, at 6 p.m. at the AMA ESD building.

Nicole Grulke can be reached via email at or by phone at 358-5687. Follow Nicole on