School district mourns board member

BLUE EARTH – The sudden death of Vickie Hanson has stunned Blue Earth Area Schools and left a hole on the school board.

Hanson, 54, died of a brain aneurysm Saturday. Services will be 11 a.m. today at Trinity Lutheran Church in Blue Earth.

Superintendent Evan Gough released a statement from the school district.


Blue Earth Area School District is deeply saddened by the sudden loss of Vickie Hanson,” the e-mail said. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to Vickie’s family during this difficult time. Vickie dedicated her life to the children of our school district. She was an outstanding board member, and she wanted to ensure that all of our students were given the opportunity to be excellent.”

Her family has requested that donations in Hanson’s memory be made to Blue Earth Area School Foundation, a fundraising organization for the district.

“Vickie was also an integral member of the Blue Earth Area School Foundation,” Gough’s e-mail stated. “She spent countless hours volunteering for the Foundation as the treasurer and organizer for BUC$ NIGHT OUT. Students, past and present, will continue to be impacted by the work selflessly completed by Vickie.”

“She took care of the donations, did the tax-exempt paperwork,” said Frankie Bly, school board chairman. “She took care of the nuts and bolts of the Foundation.”

Hanson’s financial expertise extended to the school board, where she was treasurer.

“(Board member) Mary Eckhardt will serve as treasurer until such time as we appoint someone,” Bly said.

A 12-year veteran of the school board, Hanson was last elected in 2010, and would have been up for re-election in 2014, Gough said.

Since there was less than two years left on her term, the board can appoint someone to fill her position.

“Any time there’s a vacancy, the board needs to fill it as soon as possible,” Gough said.

At the June meeting, Bly plans to declare a vacancy. Anyone interested in serving can contact the superintendent’s office and fill out an application form.

A special board meeting might be called, Bly said, or Hanson’s successor could be named at the board meeting in July.

“We’ve never done this before,” Bly said. “We’ve made appointments, but not in a situation like this.”

It’s a blow because Hanson was a dedicated board member.

“She was well-prepared for board meetings,” Bly said. “She was a very active part of the district and the Learning Team.”

Hanson also was involved with staff negotiations, recognizing employees and serving in any way she could.

“She was just a real strong leader on the board,” Gough said.

“People [who] make a point of being part of a board, they dedicate themselves to that board; that’s symbolic of our entire board,” Bly said. “She wanted to make sure every child received the best education they could receive.”