Robert Downey is president of the Maricopa Unified School District Governing Board. The board will return to five members soon after the recent death of board member Jim Jordan.

A new member of the Maricopa Unified School District Governing Board will likely be announced next week.

Pinal County Schools Superintendent Jill Broussard said she expects to name a replacement soon for late board member Jim Jordan, who died Feb. 15 after suffering a stroke while undergoing in-hospital treatment for COVID-19. Jordan, 74, was appointed to the board in April 2020, and successfully ran in the November 2020 election to retain his seat.

Broussard said she has interviews scheduled with two candidates: Dr. Gary Miller, a health care provider and former MUSD board member, and Carla Munkirs, a training program designer and true crime novelist.

The selection of a new board member is at Broussard’s discretion. She offered some insights into what she seeks in candidates – and what she is not.

“I have been in this office for about 10 years, and it is alarming how many times I do these interviews and people don’t mention students or education once,” Broussard said. “Let’s just say I’m probably not going to be drawn to candidates that have an ax to grind, something like they want to get the football coach off the job, or they hate their kid’s math teacher.

“I read a survey that said the number one reason people run for a school board position is to fire the football coach, followed by firing the superintendent and having higher political aspirations,” she added.

The candidate selected to complete Jordan’s term will have a brief stay in office unless they choose to run for the position in November. Jordan’s term runs through January 2023. With that in mind, Broussard said she will try to find someone with the proper priorities for the position.

“I’d like to find someone with a passion for supporting the students, teachers and staff that are there every day,” Broussard said. “We want someone who is educated and aware of the issues that students and educators are facing now, whether that is COVID, funding, school safety or whatever the issues may be. I try to keep those things in mind and pull out their motives, thoughts and feelings.”

The MUSD Governing Board can recommend candidates to Pinal County School Office, but not as individual members. MUSD Superintendent Dr. Tracey Lopeman may also make recommendations.

Broussard said she expected to see more interested candidates.

“I’m a little surprised that we only have two interviews,” she said. “Open seats in Maricopa usually generate a lot of interest.”

Once a candidate is chosen, the county will conduct a private background check; if the candidate passes, they will be offered the position. If they accept, they will be sworn in at the next regularly scheduled board meeting. That is likely to be April 13, as it is unlikely the background check could be completed in time for the March 30 meeting.