David "Bo" Graham

David 'Bo' Graham, center, takes the oath of office to become the Livingston Parish School Board's District 7 interim representative, on Jan. 5, 2017. Holding the Bible for her husband's oath is Betty Graham. Bo Graham, 62, replaces longtime School Board member Jimmy Watson, who was elected mayor of Walker.

LIVINGSTON — David “Bo” Graham will serve as the interim representative for District 7 on the Livingston Parish School Board, following former board member Jimmy Watson’s election as Walker mayor.

Graham received the board’s unanimous approval as Watson’s appointed replacement and was sworn in during a recess at the board’s Jan. 5 meeting. An election will be held Oct. 14 to fill Watson’s unexpired term, which runs through Dec. 31, 2018.

Assuming his seat when the board reconvened, Graham said he must thank God; his wife, Betty, “for all her support and encouragement”; and the board for appointing him.

“I know I’ve got some big shoes to fill because Jimmy was here for several years,” Graham said. “I’m humbled and honored to be able to sit on this board that represents, to me, not the third best but the very best school district in the state of Louisiana.”

Board members Malcolm Sibley and Buddy Mincey Jr. also were unanimously chosen to serve another year as president and vice president, respectively.

During the meeting, Superintendent Rick Wentzel thanked the Watson community for hosting Denham Springs High and Freshman High’s students at the Live Oak schools while their home campuses were being repaired from the August flood.

“We know it caused an impact on that community, but they were gracious and helped us with those students up there,” Wentzel said. “Now we’ve got them back, and… those (Denham Springs) teachers were smiling from ear to ear. ... They were just so happy to be back home. Those kids were smiling, and the teachers were just ecstatic.”

Wentzel also thanked Assistant Superintendent Joe Murphy for all his hard work in overseeing the flood repair work at those schools, as well as the construction of three temporary campuses for Denham Springs Elementary, Southside Elementary and Southside Junior High.

The Southside schools moved into their new temporary buildings on the campuses of Juban Parc Elementary and Junior High when classes resumed parishwide Jan. 5. Denham Springs Elementary is scheduled to move to its temporary campus on Hatchell Lane later this month.

“I am LP proud,” Wentzel said, pounding the tabletop for emphasis. “Because of what we’ve had to go through and where we’ve come from. People said we couldn’t do it. We’re LP, baby. We can do it.”

Follow Heidi Kinchen on Twitter, @HeidiRKinchen.