By JOHN KLINE
THE GOSHEN NEWS
The letters of interest are in. Now it’s time to make a selection.
Members of the Goshen Board of School Trustees gathered at the Goshen Community Schools Administration Building Monday afternoon to interview potential candidates seeking to fill the recent vacancy left by outgoing board member Jon Jesse.
Jesse, who had served on the board for the past 11 years, announced he would be giving up his seat during the board’s June 10 meeting due to plans to relocate out of the corporation’s boundaries. Jesse’s term is set to end Dec. 31, 2014.
Following Jesse’s announcement, the board immediately began seeking letters of interest from the public. As an at-large position, Jesse’s seat is open to anyone living within Goshen Community Schools’ boundaries. The deadline for submitted letters was June 25.
During Monday’s special board meeting, board president Jane Troup indicated that the committee had received a total of eight letters of interest by the June 25 deadline, though one candidate chose to remove himself from consideration at the last minute.
“We had several more inquiries just kind of feeling it out, asking what time commitments were involved, things like that,” Troup said. “But all together we got eight letters of interest.”
Set for interviews during Monday’s meeting were: Craig Harris, Rick Holderread, Roger Nafziger, Bill Rieth, Kieth Goodman, Brad Miller and Gene Stutsman.
In describing how the actual interview process would proceed, Troup indicated that each potential candidate would be interviewed individually for 30 minutes in front of a school board-appointed executive committee consisting of Troup and fellow board members Cathie Cripe and Dan West.
During that interview process, set to span nearly four hours, the seven potential candidates were given a brief overview of the selection process which was then followed by an explanation of board service expectations and responsibilities. The interviewees were then given a few minutes to describe themselves and their qualifications, after which it was the committee’s turn to ask questions of the candidates.
A sampling of some of the questions asked during the interview process included what experience candidates may have had on boards similar to a school board in the past, how they have dealt with conflict and difficult situations on those boards, and what qualities they feel they can bring to the table that will be an overall benefit to the board.
“Once the interviews are done, then the committee will meet, we’ll make a recommendation to the board, and then the board will have to vote on it at their next meeting,” Troup said. “Then once that’s done we’ll swear the person in.”
Troup said that while this is not the board’s first time making a new appointment to the board, it is the first time that process has had to be done as part of a public meeting.
“The law actually changed Jan. 1 of this year, where interviews now have to be held in public, so we’ve been scrambling to figure it out and make sure we’re doing everything right,” Troup said. “That was the hardest thing, just checking with ISBA (Indiana School Board Association) legal council and making sure exactly how we’re supposed to do it, and making sure we’re crossing all the T’s and dotting all the I’s.”
The board is scheduled to vote on Jesse’s official replacement during the group’s July 10 meeting.
“So right now we’re just gathering all the information,” Troup said, “then we’re going to decide and make a recommendation, relay that to the board members, and then it will be up to the entire board to make that final decision.”