Friday, May 29, 2020 Categories:
Press Release

State School Superintendent Kirsten Baesler said Friday that eight candidates have applied for a future vacancy on North Dakota’s Board of Higher Education.

Don Morton, a retired Microsoft Corp. executive in Fargo, is leaving the board July 1 after serving two four-year terms, which is the maximum allowed by the North Dakota Constitution. Morton’s successor will be chosen for a four-year term, and will be eligible for reappointment to a second term.

The candidates are:

  • Matthew Dunlevy, Grand Forks, chief executive officer, SkyScopes Inc.;
  • Ian Grande, Bismarck, principal of Shiloh Christian School;
  • Perry Lubbers, Casselton, retired supply executive for Trail King Industries and the Bobcat Co.;
  • June “JuniKae” Randall, Grand Forks, television producer and founder/chief executive officer of Circle of Nations Publishing of Grand Forks;
  • Cody Severson, Fargo, executive director of Community Uplift Program/Harbor Health Clinic of Fargo;
  • Jonathan Sickler, Grand Forks, chief legal officer of Advanced Engineering and Environmental Services Inc. of Grand Forks;
  • Frank Walker, New Rockford, a farmer, rancher and veterinarian; and
  • Joseph Wetch Jr., Fargo, partner and vice president of the Serkland Law Firm of Fargo.

The application deadline passed at 5 p.m. Friday.

Baesler is chairwoman of a nominating committee that reviews applications for the Board of Higher Education and recommends potential appointments to the governor.

Other members are Chief Justice Jon Jensen; House Speaker Lawrence Klemin, R-Bismarck; Sen. Oley Larsen, R-Minot, the president pro tempore of the North Dakota Senate; and Nick Archuleta, president of North Dakota United, which represents public employees and school teachers.

The nominating committee will meet later to choose three finalists for the governor to consider for the opening. The person whom the governor chooses will begin serving on the board in July. The North Dakota Senate will vet the appointment during the 2021 Legislature, and vote on whether the governor’s choice should remain on the board.

Several of the new candidates applied for a previous board opening created by the January resignation of Dan Traynor, who was appointed to a federal judgeship. Burgum chose Danita Bye, a Stanley business adviser and consultant, to succeed Traynor. Baesler said she had encouraged the applicants who were not chosen for the Traynor opening to put their names forward again.

The Board of Higher Education oversees the North Dakota University System, which includes 11 public colleges and universities. It has eight voting members, and two advisory members who represent the system’s faculty and staff.