Panel Chooses Six Finalists for ND Board of Higher Education

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Press Release

BISMARCK, N.D., March 8, 2023 – North Dakota School Superintendent Kirsten Baesler announced Wednesday that six people have been chosen for two pending openings on the state Board of Higher Education.

Baesler is chairwoman of a nominating committee that picked a group of three individuals for Gov. Doug Burgum to consider in making each of the two appointments. The governor will choose one person from each of the groups of three. Both of his choices will be appointed to four-year terms on the board, which oversees the public colleges and universities in the North Dakota University System. They are both subject to confirmation by the North Dakota Senate.

The nominating committee chose the following people for consideration for a seat now held by Timothy Mihalick of Minot. Mihalick is vice chairman of the board and a business development officer at Minot’s First Western Bank & Trust:

  • Timothy Mihalick, who is eligible to serve a second four-year term, the maximum allowed;
  • Katrina Christiansen, Jamestown, who is a professor of engineering at the University of Jamestown; and
  • Marya Skaare, Dickinson, who is president of Trinity Catholic Schools.

The committee also picked a separate group of three to be considered for a seat now held by Nick Hacker of Bismarck. Hacker is finishing his second and final SBHE term and is not eligible for reappointment.

  • Curtis Biller, Fargo, human resources consultant, Strengths Inc.; 
  • Stanley Schauer, Bismarck, director of assessments, North Dakota Department of Public Instruction;
  • Mevan Wijetunga, Grand Forks, cardiologist, Altru Health System.

The terms of Mihalick and Hacker both end June 30. Burgum will make his appointments later.

The nominating committee consists of Baesler; State Sen. Don Schaible, R-Mott, the Senate’s president pro tempore; state Rep. Dennis Johnson, R-Devils Lake, the speaker of the North Dakota House; Supreme Court Chief Justice Jon Jensen; and Nick Archuleta, president of North Dakota United, which represents public school teachers and public employees.

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