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Idaho Board of Education appoints three new North Idaho College trustees

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The Idaho Board of Education announced the new trustees during a 10-minute meeting Friday afternoon on the NIC campus in Coeur d'Alene.

The panel chooses a retired doctor, a human resource director and a former state senator.

The governing committee for Idaho’s public education system on Friday picked three people to serve on the North Idaho College Board of Trustees.

The state Board of Education appointed Dr. David Wold, John Goedde and Peter Broschet to fill the seats of board members who had resigned. That left the committee without an operating quorum and triggered the state board to come in and appoint new members.

The Board of Trustees has been in turmoil since at least early 2021. Last fall three members voted to fire then-President Rick McLennan without publicly providing a reason. McLennan was replaced on an interim basis by wrestling coach Michael Sebaaly. McLennan was later given a $500,000 settlement after he filed a legal claim against the college. Three members of the board have since resigned, one (Michael Barnes) after questions were raised about whether he lives in the zone that he represented. The other two, Christie Wood and Ken Howard, left in a dispute with board Chairman Todd Banducci and Secretary/Treasurer Greg McKenzie.

On April 1, the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities issued a warning sanction to NIC over its concerns about governance and institutional integrity. NIC staff members and others in the community have called for Banducci to step down as board president.

The new trustees

Wold is a retired ophthalmologist who serves on the board of the NIC Foundation. Broschet is the director of human resources at Empire Airways. Goedde is a former state senator and chairman of the Senate Education Committee who has also been active with the college foundation.

The three were among eight finalist candidates interviewed Thursday at NIC. During their meetings with Board of Education members, each candidate was asked what they believed needed to be done to improve the board’s functionality and improve the college’s accreditation status.

“This board needs to rebuild its reputation and gain the confidence of staff, faculty and students and then the community,” Broschet said.

Some candidates called for Banducci’s removal. Others called for the board to move quickly to hire a new president. The university received more than 50 applicants.

“From my past experience on the foundation board, I have great concern that donors are hesitant to step forward and support students here and I think that with stability on the board we can get past that,” Goedde said.

The new members will serve until the November election, when they’re eligible to run for their seats on a permanent basis. Goedde and Wold say they won’t run. Broschet says he’s interested in running, but that’s dependent on whether the atmosphere on the board has improved and things are being accomplished.

"What we're trying to simply do today is to put in place a structure that can bridge that point from today to November," said Board President Kurt Liebich. "And it's a really important time for this institution. You're all aware of the accreditation concerns that have been raised. We're very concerned about that as a state board. Accreditation is critical for any higher ed institution."

It hasn’t yet been announced when the new members be sworn in. The trustees’ next scheduled meeting is May 25.

One of the Northwest's most seasoned reporters is returning to his SPR roots. Doug Nadvornick will be heard frequently on KPBX and KSFC reporting on local news.