Sixteen Cottage Grove and Monona residents have expressed an interest in filling the vacant seat on the Monona Grove School Board.

The vacancy, created by the death of Jeff Simpson last month, will be filled by appointment by the other six members.

Candidates are Eric Arnold, David Bieck, Amy Brice, Elizabeth Cook, Loreen Gage, Mindi Giftos, Brandon Godboldt, Rebecca Ninke and Paul Vandervelde, all of Cottage Grove; and Chris Bondurant, Kristy Nieto, Becky Ross, Abe Saloma, Anne Shapiro, Jenifer Smith and Sarah Smith, all of Monona.

The school board will conduct special meetings over two nights to conduct interviews of all candidates. The meetings will be held from 6-8 p.m. Monday, Sept. 16, and Tuesday, Sept. 17, in Room 306 at the Monona Grove School District Office, 5301 Monona Drive.

Each interview will last 15 minutes during which time the applicant will be allowed to introduce himself or herself, answer a couple of questions and end with a closing statement. Due to the number of applicants and interviews to be held, officials will be diligent about the 15-minute limit.

The school board will have the opportunity to review applications prior to the interview.

The letters of interest from the candidates, in which they expressed why they are interested in the positon and their qualifications, are not being made available to the public at this time. School district officials said they must first review the letters for information that needs to be redacted.

School board officials have not said when the appointment will take place, but it is expected to occur yet this month. A majority of the board is required to appoint someone to the position.

The person appointed will serve until April 2020, when an election will be held to complete the remaining year of Simpson’s three-year term.

In the April election, there will be three seats up for election: Simpson’s one-year term as well those currently held by Dean Bowles and Susan Fox, each for the full three years.

No candidate runs for a specific seat or term; of the top three candidates in that election, the person with the lowest tally (of the top three) will serve the one-year term.

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