Duluth school board members picked a biology professor at the College of St. Scholastica to join their ranks Monday after interviewing more than a dozen candidates vying to fill an empty seat on the governing body.

Kelly Durick Eder, the mother of two students at Duluth's Piedmont Elementary School, will join the board at a time when it faces a number of major decisions, including the selection of a new superintendent and potential boundary adjustments to reallocate the number of students enrolled at each school within the district.

"I am excited to bring Kelly to our board," school board chair Rosie Loeffler-Kemp said. "She brings strong professional skills. She brings leadership as a parent of two young children in the district. She brings an excellent skill set to complement us as a board."

Durick Eder's atypical path to the board did not involve a campaign. Though school board members are usually elected to their seats, the current board decided it would appoint an individual to replace Josh Gorham, who stepped down from his position last month.

That could be why the position drew so much interest. Twenty-one people submitted applications to join the board, though a few withdrew their candidacies before the interview and selection process.

Seventeen individuals appeared for 10-minute public interviews with the board Monday night, where they were asked a standard set of five questions.

"The community of Duluth hasn't had the opportunity to know me or have a say to whether I should serve on the school board, so I'm really looking forward to building some trust with the community and getting out and meeting people," Durick Eder said Monday.

Durick Eder will serve on the board through 2020. Her tenure will officially start after a 30-day period, during which voters — in accordance with state statute — have the opportunity to petition to reject the board's appointment.