The Duluth School Board decided Monday night on the process to choose a new board member to fill the At Large seat left vacant by the resignation of Josh Gorham last week.

The Duluth School Board laid out the process of finding his replacement Monday night at a special meeting, and decided to move forward with an application and interview process. The application will include an affidavit of candidacy and a questionnaire with three board-approved questions.

Those questions will be:

  • Why do you want to be a Duluth Public Schools board member
  • What skills and experiences would you bring to the Duluth Public Schools (personally, professionally and in community involvement)
  • How do you plan to represent our diverse district community

The application will be posted later this week and will be due by 4 p.m. Sept. 23. The board had a lot of discussion on whether to limit the number of candidates that receive an interview. By a 5-1 vote, with board member Nora Sandstad voting no, they decided they will interview all applicants during a special School Board meeting on Sept. 30.

“People are really good at putting things on paper and you don’t get the true essence of a person if you don’t sit across the table from them,” said board member Sally Trnka. “I also think one of our roles as a board member is to sit up here and speak to policy and speak to the voices of the people that we represent and be ambassadors for the district. The content of what they say will ultimately be more important than the way they say it.”

During the interview process, each candidate will get the same amount of time and be asked the same questions. Those interview questions won’t be decided until a special meeting Tuesday after the regular School Board meeting, which is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.

The School Board discussed at length whether to decide the interview questions Monday night or wait so they could get input from community members and key community groups, some of which were in attendance Monday night but were not able to speak as there was no public comment period.

“I really want the community to give us feedback on questions to ask them, especially ones that involve our students of color and those with diverse backgrounds and cultures because we have to represent all of them,” board member Alanna Oswald said. “I think people in the community are better situated to come up with those questions.”

Community members who wish to weigh in on the interview questions can do so by sending them to School Board members or by speaking during public comment at Tuesday’s meeting.

The School Board is expected to deliberate and vote on a candidate to fill the empty seat after interviews on Sept. 30. Then after a 30-day waiting period to allow community members to petition against the candidate picked. If no such petition is filed the candidate will be sworn in and serve through 2020. If a petition is filed the board will have to appoint someone else.

A special election will be held November 2020 to fill the seat for the remainder of the term through 2021 and being sworn-in in January 2022. The person who is appointed by the board will have the opportunity to run for election.