Andrea Forsyth

OREM — Alpine School District Board of Education member Andrea Forsyth has resigned due to health reasons.

Forsyth, who is fighting cancer, has served on the school board for 11 years.

"She's always been an advocate for special-needs children," board member JoDee Sundberg said. "Anything to do with improving programs for kids with special needs, she was an advocate for that. One of her big things was inclusion — getting those kids into their neighborhood schools and not being bused to schools away from their home."

Forsyth has a child with Down syndrome.

Forsyth, who didn't return a message seeking comment on Tuesday, lost her husband, Orem City Councilman Doug Forsyth, to leukemia in December 2005 and had been considering whether she wanted to run for a fourth term.

"But then, when her illness came, it took such a toll physically and emotionally on her, she thought this was best," Sundberg said.

The school board accepted Forsyth's resignation letter Friday.

"She was the one who read everything," Sundberg said. "Every document that came our way, she would always come prepared, for all the nine years I've been on the board," Sundberg said.

Forsyth also is a talented singer. Each year, she sang to Orem High's seniors during her graduation speech, board president Debbie Taylor said.

Forsyth's resignation creates an opening on the seven-member board.

The school board will appoint a new board member, who will serve through next year, when Forsyth's term expires. The new member must run for the position in November 2008.

Forsyth represented the Orem High School area.

Board decisions will continue to require a four-member majority vote.

Forsyth served as the board's vice president. A new vice president will be chosen when the new member is appointed, Taylor said.

Working on the school board, Sundberg said, requires 10-15 hours each week of reading and attending meetings. Board members must be willing to respond to parents' e-mails and phone calls.

"Sometimes we'll go a long time without having parent calls, but if there's an issue in your particular area or a districtwide issue, you have more calls or e-mails," Sundberg said.

Applications are due Nov. 16. More information on the process of getting appointed is available on the school district's Web site: