School board declares vacancy: Applicants now being accepted to fill open position

Applications will be accepted through Oct. 19 to fill the vacancy left by Bob Nystrom, who resigned effective Sunday.

Bob Nystrom reads his letter of resignation from the Brainerd School Board Monday, Oct. 11, 2021. Nystrom resigned, largely due to family health concerns. Theresa Bourke / Brainerd Dispatch

Those interested in filling the open Brainerd School Board seat can apply for the position beginning Tuesday, Oct. 12.

Applications will be accepted through Oct. 19 to fill the vacancy left by Bob Nystrom, who resigned effective Sunday largely due to family health concerns. Minnesota statute calls for school boards to appoint a new member when a vacancy occurs.

After accepting Nystrom’s resignation Monday, the board agreed to an application period of Oct. 12-19, wherein those interested can submit an application to be considered for the appointment. After receiving the applications, the remaining five board members will read through and choose their top candidates. They will send their choices to Janet Horn, executive assistant to the superintendent, who will then compile that data to be presented at the following board meeting Oct. 25. At that meeting, board members will decide on roughly six candidates to interview for the position.

Interviews will take place at 4 p.m. Oct. 27 in front of the full board, with an alternate date of Nov. 3 if any applicant cannot make the first date. Ideally, board members plan to discuss the applicants directly after all the interviews take place and offer the position to the new member immediately, allowing them to begin serving Nov. 8. That member will serve through 2022, with a special election taking place in 2022 to fill the remaining two years of Nystorm’s term.

Applications will be available at beginning Tuesday.


Board committees

Two school district committees have three school board members on them, which equates to a quorum of board members while there is a vacancy. Kevin Boyles agreed to step back from the equity advisory task force, while Charles Black Lance agreed to step back from the Blueprint 181 project oversight committee for the next month while there are only five board members so as not to violate any open meeting laws.

Letter of resignation

Nystrom appeared at Monday’s meeting to read his letter of resignation.

“My main purpose was to serve the children of ISD 181 in the best way possible,” he said, adding he would not be the person he is today without the influence of teachers during his time as a student in Brainerd.

“So first I want to thank the teachers of this district who work many extra hours to improve student achievement, and to those teachers that take that extra time with a student who has potential but is not living up to it. You have made a difference in my life and for many other students who have gone on to successful careers,” Nystrom said, urging the public to thank both board members and all district staff — teachers, administrators, paraprofessionals, cooks, custodians, secretaries and the like — who do so much for the district.

He also thanked the public for supporting him for the 17 years out of the last 20 years he was on the school board.

“In closing, it has been my great honor to have served with five great superintendents,” Nystrom said. “I served with Jerry Walseth, Steve Razidlo, Klint Willert, Bob Gross and for the last five years, Laine Larson. I thank them all for their past and present commitment to ISD 181. … ISD 181 is a school district that attracts the best of the best in superintendents, principals, teachers and support staff. We’re known around the state for academic excellence. This could not have been done without the support of our generous community who also love this district and want it to keep it going.”


Those in attendance gave Nystrom a standing ovation, and the five other board members, along with Superintendent Laine Larson, had no shortage of praise for the work Nystrom has done for the community and of how much they will miss him on the board.

“Bob, your fingerprints are literally on thousands of diplomas that have been handed to the kids that have walked out of this high school. Your fingerprints, figuratively, are on even more than that — thousands and thousands of kids that have come through the school district over the last 20+ years that you have been involved in this district,” board member Kevin Boyles said, “And no matter what else you sit at home and think about tomorrow when you’re not a member of this body anymore, you remember that and remember the positive impact that you’ve had on all of those lives. That is your legacy.”

THERESA BOURKE may be reached at or 218-855-5860. Follow her on Twitter at .

Related Topics: EDUCATION
Theresa Bourke started working at the Dispatch in July 2018, covering Brainerd city government and area education, including Brainerd Public Schools and Central Lakes College.
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