Leonard Myers, a longtime resident who once headed the local chamber of commerce, will fill a vacant seat on the Hempstead Board of Education, district officials said Saturday.

The board made the appointment during Thursday night's meeting, officials said.

"This appointment is not about me; it's about the kids," Myers, 80, said in a statement. "The children need to be respected and to have respect for themselves. And I want to be part of any team that wants to get back to the basics."

Myers, a 50-year resident, replaces former board member Waylyn Hobbs, who resigned in July with two years remaining on his term.

In August, a diverse group of 70 Hempstead Village community leaders and residents called for Hispanic representation on the school board, citing the district's steadily growing Hispanic student population.

The district's student body was 57 percent Hispanic and 39 percent black in the 2011-2012 school year, according to the state Education Department.

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School officials said Saturday that two Hispanic candidates were interviewed for the school board seat. Myers is black.

Myers worked as a stock and insurance broker. He was a former president of the Hempstead Chamber of Commerce.