Back at the board table

Marsnik returns to school position after long recovery from injuries

by Tom Coombe
For the first time in more than four months, the Ely School Board operated at full strength and without an empty chair.
Amid smiles and a round of applause, longtime chairman Ray Marsnik was welcomed back and resumed his duties after a long recovery from injuries sustained in a late-December vehicle crash.
The accident took the life of Marsnik’s wife Pat, and Marsnik has spent all of 2022 recuperating and regaining his strength after being hospitalized for multiple injuries.
He acknowledged his fellow board members and well-wishers during brief remarks at the start of Monday’s meeting.
“I want to thank all of you,” he said. “It was a tough ordeal. I was off my leg for 104 days in a wheel chair, and I finally got that thing put away.”
Marsnik added “I’m a person who likes to keep moving... Lock me up in a house for that long and you’ve got problems.”
Marsnik, the board’s longest-serving member, has been chairman for 17 years and was re-elected to that position in January.
Board clerk Rochelle Sjoberg has filled in as chair in Marsnik’s absence and led the group in welcoming him back Monday.
“We have missed you dearly,” said Sjoberg. “We’re very, very happy to have you back.”
Marsnik also was presented with a certificate acknowledging 20 years of service as a school board member.
He was due to receive the award in January, at the state school board convention, and board member Hollee Coombe accepted it there on his behalf.
Coombe presented Marsnik with the certificate at the beginning of this week’s meeting.
“I was honored to accept this on your behalf in January and I’m honored to present this to you tonight,“ said Coombe.
Marsnik, a retired teacher who worked in the Biwabik schools, was elected to Ely’s school board in 2001.
He told the group “I’m happy to be back working with this board,“ while thanking Sjoberg for filling in and superintendent John Klarich for keeping him abreast of school happenings.
Marsnik’s return gives the board a full complement of six active members.
Earlier this month, Chad Davis joined the group after being appointed to a seat vacated by Darren Visser, who resigned in February after moving outside district boundaries.
In other business Monday, the board:
• Hired Karl Kubiak for the full-time band/classroom music teaching position for the 2022-23 school year. He’ll replace Sarah Mason, who is leaving the district at the end of the current school year.
• Hired Heidi Omerza for a long-term substitute teaching position in the elementary school.
• Reduced the temporary cafeteria aide position held by Melissa Hart because of budget constraints.