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The Fremont Public Schools Board of Education bid farewell to longtime board member Grady Wells and welcomed new board member Mike Petersen at its monthly meeting on Monday night.

The board also elected officers and organized committees on Monday during its first meeting of 2019.

Sandi Proskovec was re-elected unanimously as board president and Dan Moran was re-elected as vice president. Todd Hansen was re-elected as secretary.

Proskovec thanked Wells for his 14 years of service on the FPS board.

“His consistent focus on what is best for kids and his unwavering character to always do the right thing has made him a great board member,” she said. “His perspective, sense of humor and his smile will be greatly missed from this table.”

Wells thanked the teachers and board members for their work and said he’d still be involved in the school system.

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Fremont Public Schools Superintendent Mark Shepard introduced Petersen, who won the spot on the school board during the November election, officially starting his term Monday night with his parents, wife and two children in the audience.

As one of the new board’s first actions, it approved a donation of $3,287 from CF Industries to nine Fremont teachers to pursue projects.

Fremont High School Principal Scott Jensen described the donation as several “mini-grants.”

Seven of the grants will go to Milliken Park to fund field trips for students to places like Morrill Hall and the Henry Doorly Zoo — “places where they can learn about Nebraska history and wildlife,” Jensen said.

Another two of the grants were for Johnson Crossing Academic Center “for work on a greenhouse and experiments,” Jensen said.

The last mini-grant went to the high school to help build a biodiversity area.

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