Oban Chosen as Board of Higher Education Finalist

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For Immediate Release
Contact: Dale Wetzel, Public Information Specialist
Office 701-328-2247
Cell: 701-400-8557
Email: dewetzel@nd.gov
Oban Chosen as Board of Higher Education Finalist
BISMARCK, N.D., Feb. 10, 2017 – State Superintendent Kirsten Baesler on Friday said a nominating committee has chosen Shawn Oban of Bismarck as one of three finalists for a seat on North Dakota’s Board of Higher Education.

The panel met Friday to select the nominee after its earlier choice, Fargo businessman Howard Dahl, withdrew. Last month, Dahl and Grand Forks residents Mary Stammen and Casey Ryan were chosen as finalists for the position. Oban’s nomination now gives Gov. Doug Burgum three choices for the seat, as the state Constitution requires.

Oban is a Bismarck city commissioner and principal of the Roosevelt and Highland Acres elementary schools in Bismarck. He was among a group of 10 people who applied last month for two openings on the Board of Higher Education, which oversees the 11 institutions in North Dakota’s university system.

Ryan is a Grand Forks doctor and the former president of Altru Health System, which is based in Grand Forks. Stammen is director of a special education unit that serves Griggs, Steele and Traill counties in east-central North Dakota.

Baesler is chairwoman of the SBHE’s nominating committee. Other members are Chief Justice Gerald VandeWalle; Nick Archuleta, president of North Dakota United; House Speaker Larry Bellew, R-Minot; and Sen. Gary Lee, R-Casselton, the North Dakota Senate’s president pro tempore.

The North Dakota Constitution (Article 8, Section 6, subsection 2(a)) specifies the membership of the nominating committee and requires it to provide the governor with a list of three potential nominees for Board of Higher Education openings. The governor chooses a nominee from the group and forwards his pick to the North Dakota Senate. The Senate decides whether to accept or reject the governor’s choice.

The terms of two board members are ending June 30 -- Kathleen Neset, a Tioga geologist and energy industry consultant, and Kari Reichert, a Mandan attorney and information technology executive.
Burgum on Thursday nominated Neset to serve a new four-year term. Oban was one of the three finalists for Neset’s position. Reichert did not seek reappointment.

The Board of Higher Education has eight voting members, all of whom are appointed by the governor, and two nonvoting members who represent the university system’s faculty and staff.

On Tuesday, the Senate confirmed one of the board’s voting members, vice chairman Don Morton, for a new four-year term. Morton, a Microsoft Corp. executive in Fargo, was nominated last year by former Gov. Jack Dalrymple.