BISMARCK, N.D., May 16, 2022 – The state Board of Higher Education’s nominating committee on Monday chose six finalists for two positions on the high-profile board, which oversees North Dakota’s 11 public colleges and universities.
The committee recommended Erika Kenner, Kevin Black, and Curtis Biller as finalists for a position formerly held by board member Jill Louters, who resigned Friday. Danita Bye, Sabina Gasper, and Stanley Schauer were recommended for the second seat on the board, which Bye now holds.
Bye is completing her current term June 30 and is eligible for reappointment. Louters’ term was also scheduled to end June 30. Both positions carry four-year terms.
Bye, of Stanley, is a business consultant. She has been serving on the Board of Higher Education since May 2020, when she succeeded Dan Traynor, who resigned to accept an appointment to a federal judgeship. Gasper, a Bismarck resident, is director of health economics and outcomes research for Alkermes Inc. Schauer is director of assessments at the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction.
The recommendations for Louters’ former seat are Erika Kenner, a Leeds farmer and rancher; Kevin Black, of Minot, chief executive officer of Creedence Energy Services; and Curtis Biller, of Fargo, principal business consultant for Strengths Inc. and a partner in Northern Plains Business Advisors.
Louters, who is the New Rockford-Sheyenne school superintendent, resigned from the Board of Higher Education to accept a part-time position with North Dakota State University’s extension service. The North Dakota Constitution bars members of the SBHE from holding jobs within the university system.
The two finalist lists will be forwarded to Gov. Doug Burgum, who chooses the eight voting members of the Board of Higher Education. The process of choosing members of the SBHE is spelled out in the North Dakota Constitution.
The nominating committee held a virtual meeting Monday to pick the finalists. It consists of Kirsten Baesler, the state superintendent of public instruction, who is the group’s chair; Jon Jensen, chief justice of the North Dakota Supreme Court; Nick Archuleta, president of North Dakota United, which represents school teachers and public employees; state Rep. Kim Koppelman, R-West Fargo, the speaker of the North Dakota House; and state Sen. Larry Luick, R-Fairmount, the Senate’s president pro tempore.