EASTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – The three-week-long process to fill two empty seats on the Easthampton School Committee has come to an end.

After hearing from nine candidates on May 18, Easthampton councilors and school committee members voted to fill the vacancies. Those seats became vacant following the resignations of Laurie Garcia and Shannon Dunham, sparked by controversy over the superintendent search.

The convention used sequential ranked choice voting to help with their decision on who would fill their spots. Each convention member voted for each candidate in order of preference on their ballots. After votes were recorded and tabulated, former school committee members Sarah Hunter and Laura Scott were elected.

These elected members told 22News what their intentions with their new roles are and addressing public concerns. Scott said, “It has to do with listening respectfully and being really transparent and explaining to the public the reasons for my decisions and statements, and to have your own mind change to really listen.”

Hunter added how she plans to fulfill her role, “I think I’m going to be really focused on following process and procedure, and just making sure everything we kind of do is in line with how things are supposed to be done.”

22News spoke with the Easthampton School Committee Chair Cynthia Kwiecinski Wednesday night about concerns the public may have had about this long process of finding people to fill the empty positions. “I think that trust will come back, I think we hit a rough spot,” expressed Kwiecinski. “I encourage everyone to look at our track record, the amount of support we had over the years for the union, for the budget, for the parents.”

Both of the elected members will fill the vacancies for the school committee until December 31, after which they’ll decide if they want to run for another term. While elected, they will also be helping with the interim superintendent search process. The superintendent search committee will be conducting interviews from June 3rd to the 5th.

The chair adds that the public will be able to start attending in-person school committee meetings in August and all meeting log-ins will become available online.