Robert Pinel, an attorney who lives in Lower Nazareth Township, is the newest member of the Nazareth Area Board of Education.
Board President Lorin Bradley greeted Pinel with a smile and a friendly warning after Pinel was sworn in at Monday's meeting.
“Welcome to the board,” Bradley said. “Your schedule just got busier.”
The school board now has a full complement of nine members again, following a period of uncertainty that began with the sudden death of longtime board member Thomas Maher in late November 2011.
The school board on Monday named Pinel to replace Woodland, by a 7-1 vote. The lone voice of dissent came from board member Chris Miller. He nominated and voted for Hayden Phillips, a Tea Party member who helped start a taxpayer watchdog group with Miller last year, before Miller was elected to the board.
Pinel, 49, will represent the district's Region II and will serve until Nov. 30, 2013. The seat will go on the ballot in next year's municipal election.
Pinel, in brief remarks to the media after the meeting, said he was approached by several Nazareth area residents who encouraged him to apply for the open seat after Maher's unexpected death.
“I felt it was something I should do,” Pinel said. He cited as one of his strengths the fact that he is “a pretty quick study” and said he would help in whichever areas his fellow board members suggest.
He said he is involved in his community, including a soccer club in Lower Nazareth.
Pinel maintains a law office in Bethlehem.