Snagging the vacant spot on Duluth’s school board just got a bit more difficult after 21 people applied to fill the seat left empty when a former member resigned.
Though school board members are typically elected to their posts, Duluth residents have the unusual chance to join the governing body without having to campaign. The current board will appoint someone to replace former member Josh Gorham, who cited mental health reasons and frustrations with district and board leadership when he stepped down earlier this month.
Candidates’ completed applications can be found on the Duluth Public Schools website. Those vying for the seat represent a wide range of backgrounds, from university professor to community activist to former Duluth City Council member.
Many have, or have had, children in the Duluth school district.
The school board was planning to ask each applicant to answer five questions during 20-minute interview slots on Sept. 30. That was before nearly two dozen people threw their names in the hat — meaning a nonstop string of interviews would last seven hours.
“Twenty-one applicants is definitely a large number,” School Board Chair Rosie Loeffler-Kemp said. “Even around the state, it’s a large number.”
Now, the school board will hold a special meeting Friday afternoon to consider adjustments to the interview process to accommodate the big pool of applicants.
“It’s inspiring to see so many individuals stepping forward, willing to serve Duluth’s children and Duluth Public Schools,” Loeffler-Kemp said in a news release. “We’re happy to see people willing to commit their time and talents to serving on the Board and supporting public education.”
The board will choose someone to fill Gorham’s spot through 2020. Three other school board seats are also up for re-election in November.
These additions will take office at a time when the board faces some big decisions, including the selection of a new superintendent to replace Bill Gronseth, who announced that he would step down from the district’s head role at the end of the school year.