And as of Tuesday night, they have to find a new superintendent, as Ed Musgrove announced he will resign from his post June 30.
"I know it's a big responsibility," Swope said of his new leadership position.
In November, Swope and Wendy Berryman became the two newest members of the Clark County Board of Education. Swope defeated six-year representative Minnie Spangler, and Berryman ran unopposed for Vice Chairman Ray Shear's seat when he decided not to run for re-election.
To prepare, Swope, 36, a factory welder and owner has attended most of the recent Board of Education meetings as an audience member. He also participated in a conference in Lexington last week.
Berryman, 31, a seventh-grade teacher at St. Agatha Academy and former George Rogers Clark High School teacher, said in an e-mail that she has spent the semester studying school law and educational leadership at the University of Kentucky.
"I am excited to be serving our local community in this capacity," she said in the e-mail. "Positive change in any situation is a result of people who are dedicated, passionate and care about the long-term product of their service."
The next board meeting will be new for Fatkin too. She has served alongside the same four board members since her election in 2004.
"It will be fun. It's always a good thing when you get new people in," Fatkin said. "I'm saddened that Minnie didn't win. She was a great asset, and her knowledge was just unbelievable."
Fatkin said Clark County's budget is a big concern. The school district has climbed from less than 2 percent in its contingency fund in 2006 to 5 percent now, but Gov. Steve Beshear has warned all state agencies that cuts could be on the way.
Although Beshear proposed implementing a $1 tax on tobacco products to avoid reductions to state education funding, his plan still faces approval by the state legislature next year.
"The state is constantly taking money away from us," Fatkin said. "There are so many things to keep us from going back to where we were."
Swope said he hopes to bring more community involvement to board decisions, and at Tuesday's meeting advocated - from his seat in the audience - that a member of the public be included on the school district's proposed budget committee.
"I think that is a great tool in bridging the perceived gap between the community and the board," he said.
Fatkin said the district already stresses community involvement through programs like Partners in Education, but she's open to exploring more options.
"It's always good any time you can educate the public more about your system and get their input," she said.
Berryman said "revising the facilities plan" will be a priority for her in the coming months.
But perhaps the biggest and most pressing task that the new Board of Education will undertake is choosing a leader for the district.
"There's a lot of jargon, even though I've been on the board for four years, and I still have to call people sometimes (to ask what something means)," she said. "It's just learning it all. â?¦They're going to have the added pressure of finding a superintendent."
Musgrove announced he will leave Clark County at the end of the fiscal year, citing the lack of a "strong, positive board-superintendent leadership team."
"My initial reaction was that I was shocked," Swope said. "I'm still in shock about it today. When he said that, the principals who were across the aisle from me - their jaws dropped."
Swope said he was looking forward to working with Musgrove, but he hopes the board will find a "fair but firm" superintendent to lead Clark County.
"We have three great benefits in the board members Judy, Debbie and Rick," he said. "They have gone through this procedure three years ago, and I'm going to rely on their knowledge."
Berryman said she wants a superintendent who uses a hands-on approach, is innovative and researches how other school districts address challenges. She said through e-mail that she would also "like to see greater accountability for hiring and retaining the best teachers."
Fatkin said the new board lineup also needs to address the strained relationships that have plagued the Board of Education. Musgrove has already arranged for board members to attend the Kentucky School Boards Association annual conference in Louisville in January.