TRAVERSE CITY — It might be competitive, but Traverse City Area Public Schools Board of Education members said it won’t get nasty when they choose a candidate to fill their ranks.
The six sitting members of the TCAPS board will publicly vet the 14 applicants for a vacant school board seat during a meeting later this month. Board Vice President Julie Puckett said she’ll have only positive things to say about the candidates, even though only one will win a spot on the district’s governing body.
“There will be no trash talking coming from this seat, and I don’t expect from any other,” Puckett said during a meeting Monday. “We have wonderful applicants across the board, so please don’t worry about us questioning your integrity or anything else by coming and putting yourself out there.”
School board members during the meeting Monday outlined how they will make the final selection on Jan. 27. Candidates will give short presentations to the board and answer board members’ questions. Board members will then each select their top three candidates, and from those selections whittle the candidates down to a few finalists.
Board President Kelly Hall said the number of finalists will be determined at the meeting.
“We don’t need to decide tonight whether the finalists will be three, or four, or five, or two,” Hall said Monday. “That would be a dynamic process at the meeting and subject to full board discussion in a very transparent way.”
Board members will be able to ask the finalists any remaining questions before they deliberate and vote on a winner.
Several of the candidates introduced themselves during the public comment portion of Monday’s meeting.
Todd Sanders is a retired Marine Corps officer who owns a small business. Sanders and his family moved to Traverse City last summer.
”I see this as a wonderful opportunity to take the biggest step to being involved in our kids’ future and the education future of our community,” Sanders said.
Joe Niemer, vice president of digital commerce at Hagerty Insurance, said he would bring business experience and a perspective on different schools — his oldest daughter attended Grand Traverse Area Catholic Schools before she was enrolled in TCAPS — to the board.
Niemer said his motivation was to help TCAPS.
“This is a temporary job,” he said of the board opening. “I have no agenda.”
The candidate selected by board members will complete the term of recently resigned board member Marjorie Rich. The new board member will be up for reelection in November.