Thirteen apply for West Ada’s vacant school board seats

The state’s largest school district could begin filling its school board vacancies as early as Tuesday.

The West Ada School District’s three existing board members will stage interviews for the board vacancies during special meetings set for 6 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday at the district office.

Thirteen candidates have applied for the vacancies — nine applicants in Zone 1 and four in Zone 3, board clerk Cheri Newbold said.

West Ada district logoThe school board vacancies were created May 17 after patrons voted to recall former board members Carol Sayles and Tina Dean.

Last month’s recall election was the latest shakeup in a year of turmoil that also saw the sudden resignation of past superintendent Linda Clark.

Rather than face voter recalls, former trustees Russell Joki and Julie Madsen resigned earlier this year.

The list of applicants includes:

Zone 1:

  • Luis Fernando Mercado.
  • Ed Klopfenstein.
  • Tanya Marie Koyle.
  • Brent Kaeo Ho.
  • Jason Jae Woodward.
  • Aaron James Fuhriman.
  • Larry Wood.
  • Andy Robert Schuler.
  • Michael Long.

Zone 3:

  • Trudy Anderson.
  • Loraine Hand.
  • Clay Hatfield.
  • Richard “Steve” Smylie.

Smylie is a former state legislator who ran unsuccessfully for the position of state superintendent of public instruction in 2006.

The interviews will take place in public during this week’s meetings. The district’s three existing board members — Mike Vuittonet, Rene Ozuna and chairman Phillip Neuhoff — will ask each of the candidates the same 10 questions, which were developed by parents and district patrons, Newbold said.

Tuesday’s meeting will be devoted to interviews for the nine Zone 1 candidates, while Thursday’s is dedicated to Zone 3 applicants.

“All of them have to be in public,” Newbold said.

The existing board members will have the option to fill a vacancy after each round of interviews wraps up. That means trustees could vote to appoint a new Zone 1 board member as early as Tuesday. If the board doesn’t act Tuesday, it will instead make the appointment Thursday.

If the board has not voted to fill the Zone 3 vacancy by the end of Thursday’s meeting, an additional special school board meeting will take place at 12:30 p.m. Friday, Newbold said.

“This (process) is a great way to learn more about the board members and who is going to represent the kids,” Newbold said.

The new school board members are expected to be sworn in next week, during West Ada’s next regular meeting on June 14.