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Trustee applicants step forward

by HANNAH NEFF
Staff Writer | February 11, 2022 1:09 AM

Ten applicants have put in their names for the vacant seat on the North Idaho College board of trustees.

The seat for Zone 5 has been vacant for almost a month after former Trustee Michael Barnes resigned on Jan. 12.

Public interviews of applicants will be conducted by the board of trustees at the Feb. 23 board meeting.

Pursuant to Idaho Statute 33-2106, the successful appointee for Trustee Zone 5 will serve until the November election and is eligible to run as a candidate in 2022.

Whoever is elected to the seat will then serve for the remainder of the term, which ends November 2024.

The following information on applicants has been gleaned from letters of interest collected by the NIC President’s Office. Applications from all trustee candidates are posted on cdapress.com.

ANN HARDT

Hardt has been a resident of Rathdrum since 2013. A parent of students past and present at NIC, she said she is both interested and invested in the issues involved with the school. Hardt said she is a spouse of a member of the U.S. Navy, now retired, and chose to home educate her six children because their lifestyle required the family to move frequently.

“The importance of the cultivation and education of a child's mind and the encouragement of intellectual curiosity in their formative years cannot be overstated,” she said in her letter of interest. “This need for the cultivation and encouragement of intellectual curiosity and critical thinking skills continues on into young adulthood and adulthood.”

Hardt said her top three objectives are to advocate for quality education and the highest possible standards at the college, advocate for sound and responsible stewardship of the budget of the college, and advocate for and represent the interests of the students who the college serves.

She said her experience teaching and mentoring her children through to college age, as well as serving in her church and community as a leader and instructor to youth and adults, has prepared her to be a strong advocate for educational needs and opportunities of the community.

ERIC SHANLEY

Shanley is a fourth generation North Idahoan from Rathdrum. He said he has friends and family who are currently or will likely attend NIC, and is also familiar with faculty. Shanley graduated from NIC as well as received a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Idaho. His daughter is a student at NIC.

Shanley is a licensed engineer and military veteran, serving active duty in the United States Air Force and Washington Air National Guard from 1990 to 2002. He currently serves as the director of highways at Lakes Highway District. He also served as president of the Idaho Association of County Engineers as well as on the Hayden Little League board, and is a past chairman and active member of the Kootenai County Area Transportation Team.

“I feel with my vested interest in North Idaho College, timing of my own children attending and a desire to continue to serve my community that it makes sense for me to throw my hat in the ring,” Shanley said in his letter of interest. “With my deep roots in our community, military, education, and professional background, I feel I have a lot to offer your board, the faculty and students at North Idaho College.”

GEOFF NEWMAN

Newman is a resident of Rathdrum who works as a business manager for UPS, responsible for managing Coeur d’Alene, Colville, Wash., and Sandpoint centers. He has been with the company for 24 years and served in his current position for the last three years. He is a graduate of Northwest Nazarene University with a bachelor of arts.

HARRY AMEND

Amend is a resident of Rathdrum who served for 17 years as the school superintendent in Freeman, Kalispell and Coeur d'Alene.

Amend was superintendent of Coeur d’Alene School District from 2002 to 2008, working closely with the superintendents of other districts as well as leadership at NIC. He said many hours were spent with committee work on improving major areas such as academic and technical curricular offerings and every area of student services, and he continues to understand the challenges facing the college.

Amend said the three communities he served are among the most politically conservative communities on the planet and he understands how to navigate and help get things accomplished in these settings.

“I am intimately familiar with how to cause Boards to be successful in stress-loaded environments with frontpage accountability,” he said in his letter of interest. “As importantly, I know how to function as a Board member, having served on more than 20 different Boards during my career.”

Amend is currently serving on the Idaho Youth Ranch board. In July he published a book entitled “Building Strong Human Bridges — 10 Tools for Success.” The book is written from his more than 50 years of experience as a counselor and leader.

MICHAEL WAGGONER

Waggoner is a resident of Rathdrum. He said he has been attending NIC board meetings for some time and is interested in assisting.

No other information was provided.

NINA BEESLEY

Beesley, of Rathdrum, is a wife and mother of five children she homeschools, two of whom started community college at ages 15 and 16 and maintained 4.0 GPAs. Beesley has a bachelor’s degree in liberal studies from California State University and taught childbirth prep classes for seven years as well as worked as a volunteer doula in labor and delivery for four years.

Beesley is currently on the Planning and Zoning Commission for Rathdrum and said serving in the community is very important to her. She said citizens need to be a part of the ongoing decision making process and one reason she's applying is so all students and community members have representation.

Beesley said if appointed, her commitment is to consider all of the testimonies and evidence before making policy decisions, approving budgets or selecting and appointing a president of the college.

PETE BROSCHET

Broschet has been a resident of Hauser since 2015 and is the director of human resources for Empire Airlines. Previously, he held senior level human resources positions for several local companies. Broschet received a bachelor’s degree in business administration, human resource management from Eastern Washington University.

“Through my various professional positions and training, I have learned to consider all relevant information provided and differing perspectives before making a decision,” Broschet said in his letter of interest. “My practical, no-nonsense approach to business and risk management will assist North Idaho College with the issues that they are facing.”

ROBERT BLANSFIELD

Blansfield, of Rathdrum, retired from the federal government in 1997 and has since been self-employed offering resource management services. He has a master’s degree in management from Pepperdine University in California.

Blansfield said he established Business Systems Associates, a management-consulting firm of which he is owner and president, to remain active and current in the field of accounting, auditing, financial analysis and investigations. He also is president and owner of Nachrichtendienst, a private investigative firm.

Blansfield said that over his 30 years as an auditor, he has held the position of internal auditor, contract auditor with Defense Contract Audit Agency and contract audit manager with the Central Intelligence Agency.

“I firmly believe with my years of experience in private industry and government service, including military service, I can significantly contribute to the overall operation and administration of the college,” he said in his letter of interest.

Blansfield is married with a son and served for two years in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves as well as three years in Airborne.

SUSAN OVERHOLSER

Overholser, of Rathdrum, is a graduate of Saint Mary’s College in California. She said she has held several positions in her career, most notably working in finance and tech support for Apple Computer and as a business administrator at Stanford University. She is self-employed as a travel agency owner and landlord.

After moving to North Idaho, Overholser said she became involved in the Coeur d’Alene Garden District Preservation Board but had to leave the group when she moved to Rathdrum.

Overholser said that while living in Redding, Calif., she was part of a group that petitioned the University of California to build a campus in the area. They successfully obtained the land donation, but the university decided to build its new location elsewhere.

Overholser said she joined the group because she saw that college-bound kids were forced to leave the area for higher education, and in most cases never returned. She said she thinks NIC is essential to keeping something similar from happening in North Idaho.

“I believe I would be a valuable, stabilizing addition to the board before the next election,” Overholser said in her letter of interest. “As a lifelong lover of learning myself, I believe I have the tools and experience to help make wise and pragmatic decisions for the betterment of the College and ultimately the community.”

TIMOTHY PLASS

Plass has been a Rathdrum resident for one year and previously lived in Post Falls for 23 years. He has a master’s degree in electrical engineering from Stanford University in California and has worked for 43 years as an RF Communications Engineer. Plass started and operated a wireless internet business in the area for seven years, VelociMAX Wireless, before selling it in 2017.

Plass said six of his children have attended NIC, with five earning an associate's degree. As a consequence, he said he's very familiar with the college and motivated to work for its improvement.

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