The Bozeman School Board on Tuesday chose attorney Andy Willett and consultant Elizabeth Williamson to fill two vacancies on the eight-member board.
The board voted 5-0 to select those two from a field of seven applicants after nearly three hours of interviews and discussion. Chair Gary Lusin said all the candidates were “excellent.”
Willett, 43, an attorney specializing in real estate, has served four years on the Bozeman Schools Foundation, volunteered on the school’s finance committee, coached kids’ sports teams and volunteered in classrooms. On a family vacation in Fort Benton, Willett was interviewed by phone conference call.
Trustees said they liked Willett’s experience with the Bozeman schools, his willingness to lobby at the Legislature for schools, and the fact that he and his wife have two children attending Bozeman schools.
Williamson, 40, a wildlife conservation mapping consultant, has served four years on the city’s Bozeman Area Bike Advisory Board and has worked on Safe Routes to Schools. She worked nine years for American Wildlands, and worked on long-term goals with the bike board. She and her husband, a physician, have two young daughters who will attend Irving Elementary.
Trustees said they liked Williamson’s commitment, communication skills and willingness to be a strong advocate for the schools.
“She really did her homework,” Trustee Denise Hayman said.
After the interviews, each trustee named their top picks. Willett had support from all five voting trustees, and Williamson from four; other candidates received one to three votes. Then the trustees made formal motions and voted on the top two vote-getters.
The other applicants were Bill Hilsendeger, 53, a textbook broker; Cindy Christin, 58, Bozeman Public Library children’s librarian; Greg Neil, 37, a First West Insurance agent; Dan Biggerstaff, 68, a retired wheat scientist; and Rick Harden, 65, Bozeman Deaconess Hospital human resources director.
The two new trustees will serve until the next school election in May and then may run for election.