Three applicants being interviewed Thursday for vacant Provo school board seat

December 6, 2017

The executive director of America’s Freedom Festival at Provo, a local business owner and a member of Rock Canyon Elementary School’s school community council have all thrown their names in for consideration to fill a vacancy on the Provo City School District Board of Education.

Paul Warner, Chad Pritchard and Melanie Hall have all applied to fill a vacancy left by Michelle Kaufusi, who turned in her letter of recognition after voters selected her to become Provo’s next mayor. Her letter of recognition took effect Nov. 29. Applications for the job were accepted until 3 p.m. Friday.

The three candidates will be interviewed at 1 p.m. Thursday at the Provo City School District building. The board of education will then meet at 4 p.m. to appoint one of those three to fill the vacancy. The new board member will be sworn in on Tuesday to fulfill the remaining year on Kaufusi’s term.

There has not been time scheduled for public input at Thursday’s 4 p.m. special business meeting.

Warner, the executive director of America’s Freedom Festival at Provo, said he decided to apply after being encouraged to run for a spot on the board of education a few years ago by then-Mayor John Curtis.

He said now the time is right, when he has more time to dedicate to potential service on the board.

He said he has a wide network of associates and friends who could add dimension to the board.

“I have been in the area long enough to appreciate some of the challenges we have here in Provo and hopefully add some insights that are helpful,” Warner said.

He said he hasn’t followed the board’s day-to-day activities and would need to speak with the board in order to find out what it wants to accomplish. He said he’s spoken to people who are supportive of education in Provo and said the area continues to need good teachers.

Pritchard, who owns Oregano Italian Kitchen in Provo and has children who are in Provo City School District, said he was spurred to apply for the vacancy because he wanted to be involved in a position where he could make a difference in schools’ futures.

He said he was a “throwaway” high school student, later attended culinary school and started his own business.

“There are a segment of kids in our school district not being represented and I think we need to shed light on those kids,” Pritchard said.

He said there are other career paths for students other than going to college.

“I think it is important our school offers a well-rounded education for kids of all paths and all walks of life,” Pritchard said.

Hall has been on the school community council of Rock Canyon Elementary School for two years, is currently the school PTA’s treasurer, volunteers at the school and helped to start a math and a robotics after-school program there after spotting a need.

“I was willing to go out there and do it,” Hall said.

She currently works at Hall Logic in Provo with her husband.

She said she decided to apply for the vacancy because of a love for education. Her three children attend Provo schools.

“I am passionate about education and I feel like this is a way I can give back to the community with my education,” Hall said.

She said she’s supportive of the board’s decisions, like it’s most recent bond and the decision to rebuild Provo High School on the city’s west side.

The candidates will represent District Two, which includes Rock Canyon Elementary School and Centennial Middle School.