State receives 37 applications for three NIC board vacancies

(CORRECTED, 10:33 a.m., to reflect that Paul Sturm is a former trustee candidate, not a former trustee.)

Thirty-seven candidates want the short-term job of serving as a North Idaho College trustee.

And the list includes some familiar names. The applicants include three former legislators — former Senate Education Committee Chairman John Goedde, former House Education Committee Chairman Bob Nonini, and Dean Haagenson. Also on the list is Paul Sturm, a former trustee candidate who lost in the 2020 election.

Monday was the deadline to apply for one of three board vacancies at NIC, an embattled two-year school facing accreditation questions. The State Board of Education is expected to fill out the five-member board on May 6.

The State Board is stepping in because three trustees have stepped down since January. First, Michael Barnes resigned in January, amidst questions about his residency. Then, longtime trustees Ken Howard and Christie Wood announced their resignations, effective May 3.

The defections leave only two members on the board: Chair Todd Banducci and trustee Greg McKenzie.

Here’s the list of applicants:

Zone 1 (the seat formerly held by Wood): Clark Albritton, John Austin, Chris Baker, Spencer Fansler, William H. “Hal” Godwin, Matthew Irving, Bob Nonini, Bill D. Richards, Marc Stewart, Julie Tiger, David Wold and Jeff Zember, all of Coeur d’Alene.

Zone 2 (the seat formerly held by Howard): Joseph Accursio, Cataldo; Brad Corkill, Cataldo; Megan Dardis-Kunz, Coeur d’Alene; John Goedde, Coeur d’Alene; Michael Gridley, Coeur d’Alene; Dean Haagenson, Hayden; Katie Lien, Coeur d’Alene; Richard Meyer, Harrison; Mara Thorhaug, Coeur d’Alene; Elizabeth “Beth” Washabaugh, Athol; Amber Wheelock, Cataldo; and Rachel Wickham, Coeur d’Alene.

Zone 5 (the seat formerly held by Barnes): Nina Beesley, Rathdrum; Robert Blansfield, Rathdrum; Pete Broschet, Hauser; Ann Hardt, Rathdrum; Andrew Kemna, Rathdrum; Dan LaVine, Post Falls; Geoff Newman, Rathdrum; Marlon B. “Brad” Patzer, Post Falls; Tim Plass, Rathdrum; Kimberly Shaner, Spirit Lake; Eric Shanley, Rathdrum; Paul Sturm, Spirit Lake; and Michael Waggoner, Rathdrum.

A State Board committee — President Kurt Liebich, Vice President Linda Clark and Secretary David Hill — will interview finalists at NIC on May 5. The following day, the entire board will meet at NIC to appoint successors.

The appointees will only serve until the November elections, although they can choose to run for re-election.

But in the short term, the appointments could shift the balance of power on what has been a divided board of trustees.

Banducci, McKenzie and Barnes formed a conservative bloc, endorsed by local Republicans. They voted to fire President Rick MacLennan in September and promote wrestling coach Michael Sebaaly as interim president a month later. (NIC is now looking for a permanent president; 59 candidates have applied.)

When Barnes resigned, the four-member board was at loggerheads, with Wood and Howard publicly sparring with Banducci and McKenzie.

More reading: An in-depth look at NIC’s complicated politics, and a closer look at Banducci.

Kevin Richert

Kevin Richert

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education politics and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent guest on "Idaho Reports" on Idaho Public Television and "Idaho Matters" on Boise State Public Radio. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. He can be reached at [email protected]

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