After going through a campaign and months after that election with no candidates for the vacant seat on the panel, the U.S.D. 402 School Board was forced to pick between two qualified candidates Monday evening.
Amanda Garcia – a teacher in Wichita who is pursuing advanced degrees in education – threw her hat in the ring.
“Sometimes we forget why we’re really here,” Garcia said. “That’s the kids. My passion is for children.”
Garcia is also the daughter of current school board member Charlie Garcia.
The other candidate who sent in a letter of candidacy was Matthew Blank. Blank has had four children go through the Augusta school district.
He said three of his children are Marines and one is an Augusta Safety Officer.
“I am a business owner and understand how to work with people,” Blank said. “I didn’t even graduate from high school until I was 26. Now, as a special investigator for the State of Kansas, I think I would be a good fit and I am willing to put in the time to do this job well.”
Blank described himself as “opinionated but not intransigent.”
With no discussion, Jim Brown made a motion to select Blank to the open District 3, Seat 6 position. Andy Hall seconded the motion that passed 5-1 with Charlie Garcia voting no.
Blank took his seat on the board and was immediately immersed in the business of the board.
He will serve for two years before the seat is up for election again.