SD 145 replaces Sopko on school board
By Nick Swedberg Correspondent February 26, 2014 10:32PM
District 145 Board of Education President, Tina Moslander during the District 145 Board Meeting at Arbor Park Middle School, Wednesday, February 26th, 2014 in Oak Forest | Gary Middendorf/for Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 28, 2014 3:21PM
An Oak Forest woman has been appointed to a seat on the Arbor Park School District 145 Board that was vacated by Michelle Sopko, who’s accused with her husband of embezzling $352,000 from the Palos Height Fire Protection District.
Rhonda Ceska, 46, was sworn in at the school board meeting Wednesday night.
“We’re excited to have you as part of the team,” District 145 Supt. Allen Jebens said, shortly before administering the oath of office to Ceska.
Sopko resigned from the board in January — a month after she and her husband, Charles, Oak Forest’s deputy fire chief, were charged with theft in an alleged scheme over 30 months from 2009 through 2012 at the fire district, where she worked. They have pleaded not guilty and are out on bail under house arrest.
Ceska said she brings to the school board experience in human resources and having been a parent in District 145. She will serve the 14 months remaining in Sopko’s term and said Wednesday that she does not yet know if she will run for the seat in April 2015.
Board president Tina Moslander said the appointment of Ceska will help the board put the distraction created by Sopko’s arrest behind it. Despite the criminal case, Moslander couldn’t say she was happy that Sopko left the board.
“It was tough because she did so much good here,” she said.
Ceska and her husband, Thomas, have two daughters, ages 12 and 10, with the younger one a student at the district’s Scarlet Oak Elementary School.