Marty Heyen, left, and Jesse Lippold, right, take new seats during a Salem-Keizer School Board meeting after being unanimously elected chair and vice chair for the 2019-20 school year. (Rachel Alexander/Salem Reporter)

A northeast Salem school board director who won re-election in May will lead a relatively inexperienced school board in the coming school year.

The seven-member board unanimously elected Marty Heyen, who represents zone 2, an area including McKay High School, as chair at a meeting Tuesday night. Board member Paul Kyllo nominated Heyen for the seat.

Heyen is serving a second term on the board after an unsuccessful run for state representative last fall. She ran as a Republican in House District 22.

“I have no idea how hard that job is but I know I’m going to find out really soon," Heyen said after taking her seat.

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In May, she beat recent McKay High School graduate Raul Marquez with 54% of the vote. The election was far more costly than prior Salem-Keizer school board races and left the board with a conservative majority.

Board members also unanimously elected Director Jesse Lippold, who represents southeast Salem, as vice chair. Lippold, a real estate agent, is the board's youngest member.

It was the first meeting for new board directors Danielle Bethell, representing Keizer, and Satya Chandragiri, representing south Salem. Five of the board's seven members are serving a first term.

The meeting opened with about ten Latinx young people, many middle and high school students, speaking to the board about their experiences as immigrants and students of color. Many said their mental health is hurt by the fear of immigration raids and knowing parents or relatives could be deported.

“I live with the fear that I might come home one day and my family won’t be there," said Daniel Chavvaria Gaytan.

Several criticized the board for a decision last fall not to take a position on Measure 105, a ballot measure that would have allowed local law enforcement to enforce federal immigration laws. That measure was defeated by voters.

Chandragiri, a psychiatrist who campaigned with a focus on mental health, asked Superintendent Christy Perry to hold a workshop for board members on teen suicide prevention.

Reporter Rachel Alexander: [email protected]er.com or 503-575-1241.