The Idaho State Board of Education met Friday to fill the three vacant seats on the North Idaho College board of trustees.
Dr. David Wold, former state Sen. John Goedde and Peter Brochet will join the board of trustees effective immediately, filling the open positions left after Michael Barnes stepped down in January, and Trustees Christie Wood and Ken Howard resigned earlier this week.
Wold, Goedde and Brochet will serve alongside sitting board chairman Todd Banducci and board member Gregory McKenzie until the November election.
NIC’s faculty gave the board a vote of no confidence after it fired President Richard MacLennan in October, with Barnes, Banducci and McKenzie in the majority. But Barnes resigned in January after questions were raised that he was unqualified to hold that seat because of his residency.
The opposing factions remaining on the board were deadlocked on approving a replacement. Once the two trustees resigned who opposed MacLennan’s firing, the board was left without a quorum, leaving the decision to fill the seats to the state board.
The new appointees are joining the board at a tumultuous time after months of public conflict between trustees, a legal challenge and an accreditation status warning from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
NIC’s accreditation status came under scrutiny last year after four local human rights groups filed a complaint concerning the board of trustees’ behavior. In a warning issued last month, the commission on colleges gave NIC until spring 2023 to meet certain accreditation eligibility requirements or face consequences.
Earlier this week, a lawsuit from Banducci and McKenzie that argued the state board only needed to fill one seat to reach a majority was thrown out by Kootenai County District Court Judge Cynthia Meyer.
The state board interviewed eight finalists Thursday from a field of 37 applicants before finalizing their appointments Friday.
“What we’re doing here today is appointing three board members (who) will provide structure for this institution through the November election,” said State Board of Education President Kurt Liebech. “Ultimately, it’s going to be up to the citizens of this beautiful part of the state that will elect who you think is best to serve on this board. So what we’re trying to do is to put in place a structure that can bridge that point from today to November, and it’s a really important time for this institution.”
Dr. David Wold
Wold, a familiar face at NIC, will represent Zone 1, which covers the western half of Coeur d’Alene and the areas west of Lake Coeur d’Alene.
For the past 15 years, Wold has served as a member and former president of the North Idaho College Foundation, responsible for the college’s fundraising efforts. He has had children and grandchildren attend the community college.
In a letter of interest, he said his 50 years of experience practicing in and serving North Idaho has prepared him for the role. He wrote that he is well aware of the character and needs of the community at this time.
“Being retired, I have the time to commit to this position knowing that important issues need to be dealt with soon,” he wrote. “I am not interested in running for the office in November but will accept all the board responsibilities in the interim.”
Prior to his fundraising work for the NIC Foundation, Wold worked for 45 years at the North Idaho Eye Institute as an ophthalmologist before retiring in 2017. He’s also served on the Idaho Medical Association board, the Coeur d’Alene Schools Board of Trustees, the Coeur d’Alene Rotary Club, the Coeur d’Alene Kiwanis Club and the Coeur d’Alene Parks and Recreation Commission.
In his letter of interest, Wold said he has had no active participation in any political party and emphasized his belief that the trustee position should be nonpartisan. The comments come after months of public conflict between the more moderate former trustees and the conservative trustees, Banducci and McKenzie.
Goedde will represent Zone 2, which includes eastern Coeur d’Alene, the east side of Lake Coeur d’Alene and extends north to include the eastern and northern flanks of Hayden Lake to the southern portion of Lake Pend Oreille. Like Wold, Goedde has nearly two decades of experience with NIC.
Goedde spent 14 years in the Idaho State Senate, from 2000-14, where he served as the chair of the Senate Education Committee, and sat on several committees and governor task forces related to education, including the Board of Education Oversight Committee. He has served as a board member of the NIC Foundation for 18 years, and is a part of Save NIC, a 501(c)(4) nonprofit initiative intended to garner community support for the community college and its efforts to address the accreditation woes.
In March, Goedde was one of many who signed a petition calling on sitting board chair Banducci to resign amid NIC’s recent scandals.
In his cover letter, Goedde identified several immediate challenges facing the college, including addressing the recommendations from the commission on colleges, as well as filling the president vacancy left after the trustees voted to fire former president Rick MacLennan without cause last September. He said the search process had been “deliberately delayed” by the board.
“It pains me to see Foundation endowments withdrawn and scholarships unfunded due to the current board upheaval,” he wrote. “I believe I can bring some balance to the board which will reassure donors of the benefit of investment in education.”
Goedde said he has no interest in running for the position in November.
Broschet will represent Zone 5, after first applying for the position during the initial search process conducted by the former NIC Board of Trustees.
Zone 5 includes the areas north of Post Falls and west to the state line, up to Rathdrum, Twin Lakes and Spirit Lake.
Broschet is currently the director of human resources for Empire Airlines based in Hayden. He graduated from Eastern Washington University with a bachelor’s degree in business administration (human resource management) in 2001.
Unlike Wold and Goedde, Broschet wrote in his cover letter that he intends to run for re-election in November, stating “I am looking to serve as a Trustee not only for the short term, but for as many terms as the community will re-elect me.
“My practical, no-nonsense approach to business and risk management will assist North Idaho College with the issues that they are facing,” he wrote. “Throughout my career, I have learned to consider all sides of an issue before forming an opinion and making non-biased decisions that is best for the organization.”
When reached for comment, Idaho State Board of Education spokesman Mike Keckler said he is not able to share any insight into the decision-making process at this time.
Although it is well within the powers of the State Board of Education to fill these vacant positions, Keckler said this is the first time the board has had to do so.
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