The Mohawk Valley School District governing board has welcomed its second new member this summer as Julian Rinehart was appointed by Yuma County School Superintendent Tom Tyree following the resignation of 12-year board member Melissa Sharp.

While Sharp’s term would have expired at the end of the year, she was aware that a few community members – namely Rinehart and Howie Jorajuria, who joined the board in June – intended to vie for seats on the board in the upcoming election and resigned from her position to grant them a head start.

“She saw that one of the things that she could do – and it was a very unselfish thing – was to resign a little bit early so that they would have the opportunity to serve as an appointee for the remaining months (of the term) up until the election and be ahead of the curve a little bit,” said Tyree.

Rinehart was appointed on July 15 and will be officially sworn into the position at the district governing board’s next meeting, slated for Aug. 11.

A purchasing agent for the Wellton-Mohawk Irrigation and Drainage District, Rinehart’s aspirations moving forward in his new role are to help the community and use his work experience as an extra vantage point in decision-making for the school district.

“I have deep roots here,” he said. “I was born and raised here, my kids currently go to school in Mohawk, so I just want to see the school thrive and succeed. Any way I can help to do that is my plan.”

In addition to his employment with the Wellton-Mohawk Irrigation and Drainage District and involvement with the Wellton-Mohawk Valley Kiwanis Club, Rinehart also serves as volunteer fire chief of the Tacna Volunteer Fire Department.

“There is a great example of somebody who’s really invested in his community,” said Tyree. “In the old days, that’s what they used to have; people weren’t full-time firemen. But he does that, which tells you that he cares an awful lot about his community, and I’m sure it probably takes a good amount of time on his part. It’s just a great example of civic involvement on the part of a community member.”

According to Tyree, it’s a “real blessing” to have individuals like Rinehart and Jorajuria lending their investment and expertise to the Mohawk Valley School District community.

“Especially out in the rural areas where you have small school districts, it’s sometimes very difficult to get people who are willing to do that,” said Tyree. “The really nice thing is that both of those gentlemen are very involved as parents in their school district, they’re very community-minded and invested in the district as a whole and have a real willingness to serve. We’re very fortunate to have some people in that particular circumstance. I think what we can anticipate is not only will they be good board members, but we can hopefully expect that they will serve for a while and add some stability to the board.”

Both Rinehart and Jorajuria will be on the district’s ballot this November.


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