BOE appoints Andy Ortiz to fill vacancy

By Blake Spurney
The USD 373 Board of Education appointed Andy Ortiz to fill the vacancy left by the resignation of Toby Tyner at a special meeting Monday night on a 5-1 vote.
Angela Becker cast the dissenting vote. She had proffered the name of Pamela Rivera, one of 12 applicants for the position. Luke Edwards said his leading candidate was Racquel Thiesen.
Melissa Schreiber was the first to name Ortiz. Mallory Morton then explained her reasoning for naming Ortiz.
“He’s got a lot of great things in his background as far as community involvement and engagement and education,” she said.
Morton said Ortiz said important points Ortiz brought up in his letter were his family background and history in Newton schools. She said he shared a lot of life experiences with Newton students.
“I think it would be good to have something on our board who can relate to students, can relate to families in a way a lot of us can’t,” she said.
Vice President Jennifer Budde said more people applied than what she had expected. She said the list was hard to narrow down because each candidate was so diverse from each other. She said she thought Ortiz brought a lot to the table. She said the board had tallked a lot about the district’s Hispanic population before adding that she didn’t want to speak for that demographic.
President Matt Treaster said he knew Ortiz a little bit, that he was a positive guy and that he would make a very good addition.
Edwards said he wanted to explain his reasoning. He said he valued someone who had degrees in education and experience working in the district.
“The criteria I chose I might not have made the top half myself,” he said.
“I read through them and was thinking these people are way more qualified than I am,” Budde interjected..
Ortiz will begin his term effective July 13.

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