With just two-and-a-half months until the April election, Brookfield resident Martin Crowley got a leg up on any opponents in the race in District 208 on Jan. 11, when the school board voted to appoint him to the board. Crowley replaces Mario Lavorato, who resigned from the board in late December citing heath reasons.

Crowley, whose daughter is a sophomore at Riverside-Brookfield High School and whose son will be attending the school next fall, confirmed that he will be running for one of the three school board seats up for election in April.

“I would just like the momentum [RB’s] got to keep going forward,” Crowley said. “If I can help in any way, I will.”

Crowley, 48, has lived in Brookfield for 18 years, has been involved with the YMCA, the Lyons Swim Club in LaGrange and the Otters Swim Club at RB. He has also coached AYSO soccer and basketball in the North Riverside Recreation League.

He’s owner/operator of Crowley Express Inc., a small trucking company headquartered in Brookfield. His wife, Cathy, does the billing while he drives the trucks.

“The general consensus was that Marty would be the best choice at this time,” said Board President Janice Prescott. “And he’s jumped right in with both feet. I think he has a good sense of what’s going on in the building.”

Crowley was one of several candidates board members discussed at a special meeting called on Jan. 4 to consider a possible replacement, Prescott said.

Crowley joins Susan Kleinmeyer as the only Brookfield residents on the District 208 board. Kleinmeyer was previously board president for Brookfield-LaGrange Park Elementary School District 95.

Whoever gets elected, all three will be new to the board. Prescott and Board Member Thom DeVries announced last fall that they will not be running for another term. Lavorato had intended on running again, and said he had petitions ready to file this week. Ultimately, however, “I underestimated my recovery,” Lavorato said.

Lavorato was hospitalized from May to September in 2004 while battling pancreatitis. An infection landed him in a coma for almost a month, which he spent in intensive care at LaGrange Hospital. When he returned to his first board meeting last fall, he was still frail and used a cane to walk.

“It’s a lot of work and I’m tired,” Lavorato said. “I thought it would be a good time to go with Jan [Prescott] leaving. The biggest letdown will not be working day to day with [RB Superintendent/Principal] Jack [Baldermann]. I miss our daily conversations already.”

According to Prescott, although the election is close at hand, state rules did not allow the District 208 board to simply keep a board seat vacant. The board was required to appoint a replacement within 45 days, Prescott said.

“We could have let it sit empty, but why do that when we had the ability to fill it and when we had several people interested?” Prescott said.