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Hospital official named to education board

Wed., April 1, 2009

BOISE – Don Soltman, vice president of Kootenai Medical Center, was appointed to the Idaho State Board of Education on Tuesday by Gov. Butch Otter.

If Soltman’s appointment is confirmed by the state Senate, he’ll replace Sue Thilo, of Coeur d’Alene, whose term expired March 1, and will serve through 2014.

“I was impressed with the quality of the people who were willing to consider this job,” Otter said in a statement. “It’s tough and often thankless even in the best of times, and I appreciate the great work that Sue has done.”

Of Soltman, Otter said, “Don’s proven commitment to education and experience at both the local and statewide policy level made him a standout candidate and a great choice to help the Board of Education fulfill its mission.”

Soltman, 60, is a former longtime school trustee in the Lakeland School District. He also has served on several statewide education task forces. An Air Force veteran, he holds a bachelor’s degree in life sciences from the Air Force Academy and a master’s degree in health care administration from Baylor University in Texas.

The appointment created a small stir in the Idaho House on Tuesday, where House Education Chairman Bob Nonini, R-Coeur d’Alene, had been promoting another candidate, Post Falls businesswoman Lorna Finman.

“I think Lorna had a deeper understanding of higher ed,” Nonini said, adding, “I asked her to seek the nomination. … You take that a little personal, but there were a lot of people interested in it.”

Betsy Z. Russell can be reached toll-free at (866) 336-2854 or For more news from Boise go to

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