County school board selects Sarantopoulos for open seat |

County school board selects Sarantopoulos for open seat

The Nevada County Board of Education unanimously selected Paula Sarantopoulos Thursday to fill the vacancy on its five-person board.

Sarantopoulos will fill the seat for Area II, representing Clear Creek, Grass Valley, and Penn Valley Union school districts.

A former Grass Valley school board member, she immediately took her oath of office and will fill the remainder of Michelle “Shelly” Sexton’s term, which ends this year.

“It feels great,” Sarantopoulos said of her appointment. “I am honored to be part of the board.”

Sarantopoulos, who went by Paula Roediger prior to remarrying, served as a trustee on the Grass Valley school board for 15 years. She left the board after moving out of the district.

“This (position) just came up and I thought this would be a great way to serve,” Sarantopoulos said. “I am just thrilled that they saw fit to appoint me.”

Sarantopoulos explained she places high value on the various choices for education that the Nevada County Board offers.

“My kids have benefitted from that, and I am just pleased that we have choices,” she said. “We have our public school settings and charter school settings. It makes us a healthier community when we have more choices.”

Superintendent of schools Scott Lay said the candidates vying for the vacant seat – Sarantopoulos, 20-year Nevada County Board of Education veteran Jack Meeks, and case manager Katharine Wanamaker – were all interviewed in Thursday’s open session as part of the selection process.

All candidates were given the same series of questions with no time limit to answer them. Lay said that in essence, the questions asked allowed the candidates to expand on why they felt they should be chosen for the position.

“We had three really good candidates,” said Lay. “Paula had been a board member at Grass Valley School District. She’s really understood the role of the county board versus school district board, and how they work together.

“Her experience at that board level was one of the big differences.”

Sarantopoulos confirmed Thursday that she will officially run for the office at the conclusion of her current term.

“I wish people could see our district from the setting of the board,” Sarantopoulos said. “How much effort goes into quality education and the programs we run.”

Sarantopoulos’ term begins immediately.

Jennifer Nobles is a staff writer for The Union. She can be reached at or 530-477-4231.

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