TRAVERSE CITY — Fourteen candidates will appear before the Traverse City Area Public Schools Board of Education on Monday night, but only one will join the board's ranks.
School board members will devote their entire meeting Monday to selecting the person who will serve out the term of resigned board member Marjorie Rich.
Board President Kelly Hall is prepared for a long night with high stakes.
"Whoever is selected is going to be one of seven people making some really important decisions about the future of our district and our community," Hall said.
Each of the 14 candidates will have a chance to briefly introduce themselves to the school board they answer board members' questions.
Each board member then will select their top three candidates, and from those selections they'll whittle the candidates to an undetermined number of finalists. Board members will be able to ask the finalists any remaining questions before they deliberate and vote on a winner.
It's possible a six-member vote will end in a tie between two candidates. If that happens, board members will deliberate until the stalemate is broken, Hall said.
"I don’t intend to go home on Monday night until the seventh board member is selected," she said.
Hall said she's looking for a "team player" who can set aside differences in opinion when needed and who is informed about TCAPS and the district's wider community. Hall said she also wants to find someone who brings a new perspective and background to the board.
The board, for example, has no retired members despite the high percentage of retired individuals in the Grand Traverse region, Hall said.
Several retirees are seeking the vacant board seat, including Michael Kronk, a retired attorney from Long Lake Township. Kronk said his daughters and stepdaughters graduated from TCAPS long ago, but he still decided to run for the board position.
"I've always felt strongly that our schools are very important to the community and I feel that with retirement I have the time available to devote to the board functions," Kronk said.
Applicant Pamela Harris Kaiser, an education consultant, said public schools are an investment from which everyone benefits. She said the TCAPS board needs to do a better job working with teachers and communicating with its constituents.
“When you haven’t passed two bond elections two years in a row, but you did do better in the last bond election, there’s room for hope and improvement,” Kasier said.
The school board meeting is scheduled for 6 pm.