BEND, OR -- The Bend-La Pine School Board received what could be a record number of applications for Nori Juba’s seat; The long-time board member will step down at the end of the month. Board Chair Peggy Kinkade says they’re getting creative with the interview process with a speed-dating-style session scheduled for Wednesday. "We’re kind of scrambling to find a way to give audience to all 26 of these people who have expressed an interest and a desire to serve on the board. It’s difficult to really distinguish between them when you’re just looking at a resume and cover letter. For them to be able to have a little bit of face-to-face time, I think - I hope, will allow us to reduce the pool significantly so we can really zero on some finalists."
The board plans to conduct long-form interviews with three-to-five finalists on February 27. Kinkade hopes they can then appoint Juba’s replacement in time for the new member to participate in the February 28 board meeting. She tells KBND News that in the past they’ve interviewed each applicant, but typically there are only five or six. "In this case, it’s impractical to call in 26 people and have in-depth interviews and make an appointment this calendar year, you know? So, we’ve got to find a way that we can hear from them and get to know them very briefly and then try and make an informed decision in narrowing the pool. We’re quite, quite surprised by the size of this pool."
She and the board can only speculate why there is so much interest, this time around. "We’re living in a climate, right now, where people are very interested in finding ways to participate in the community; to help make decisions and kind of help make the world a better place, with the recent Presidential election that’s lit a fire under people for one reason or another. That, I think, might be driving a lot of the interest in this position." She adds, "You know, it’s a great problem to have. It’s wonderful that that many people are interested enough to apply and willing to participate in that way in our community. That’s exciting; that’s a really good development in our community. It creates a lot of work for us, but that’s great work to do."