Tiffany Barnard is the newest member of the Hutchinson School Board. She was appointed to the position with unanimous approval from four of the board’s five members during its meeting Monday. Board Member Byron Bettenhausen was absent from the meeting.
Barnard will fill the seat made vacant in August following the departure of former Board Chair Josh Gehlen, who moved out of the district and was no longer eligible to serve on its board.
Board Chair Keith Kamrath said the board received forms from four people interested in the open position, and they chose Barnard for her previous commitments to the city and school district, among other reasons.
“We looked at her community involvement, previous board or committee experience, familiarity with the community and interest in education,” he said. “Reviewing all of the things the board thought were priorities, she was selected.”
When it came to submitting an interest form for the School Board position, Barnard said it was an easy decision, and her husband, Blake, supported it.
“We are parents of three children in the district,” she said. “We have one in early childhood, one at West and one at Park. I’m also on the early childhood advisory committee, so I am trying to learn and advocate as much as I can for our children’s education in the community. I am here to learn and serve, that’s my motivation.”
Along with the early childhood advisory committee, Barnard also serves on the city’s charter commission and served on the downtown revitalization planning committee, among others. She and her husband are also the former owners of Zellas restaurant.
“I think I’m very invested in the community. I grew up here,” she said. “I went to (St. Benedict) for college and volunteered in Guatemala for awhile. Then I came back and lived in Minneapolis, and my husband and I moved back here 11 years ago.”
Minnesota law requires that after an appointment such as this, Barnard is not eligible to be seated for 30 days. That means she won’t officially be sworn in until the Nov. 13 meeting. Until then, she can not vote but plans on attending upcoming meetings and learning as much as she can about the board before she is seated.
She will serve out the remainder of the term through December 2020. To fill the position in the future, the November 2020 Hutchinson School Board portion of the ballot will include three positions regularly up for election at that time, plus one special election.