The Idaho Falls School District Board of Trustees on Thursday approved Paul Haacke to fill its Zone 2 vacancy.
Haacke will replace Dave Lent, who was elected to the Idaho Senate in the November general election.
Haacke was one of three candidates interviewed during Thursday’s public meeting that just saw one member of the public attend — a friend of Haacke’s who came for moral support.
Saige Ballock-Dixon and Dyanne Murdoch were also interviewed by the board. Each candidate was asked about eight questions, ranging from their background within the district and their role and responsibilities on the board.
“My biggest task is collaborating with the board and the public to help and understand the needs of our students,” Haacke told the Post Register. “I’m excited to be a part of the board.”
Haacke said this is the first time he’s been a member of an education board or involved in politics.
“All three candidates were invested in the district, and as you saw last night, there was a sense of passion and new perspective being brought to the board,” D91 Superintendent George Boland told the Post Register Friday morning.
The meeting lasted about 90 minutes and saw each trustee rank the three candidates from one-to-three on a piece of paper, one being the board member’s top preference.
Haacke received the lowest total with six.
Following the tally by Board Chair Deidre Warden, the board then motioned to a discussion, where they agreed Haacke brought a “new perspective” to the board. They noted his background in data and business, while contemplating his travel and work hours.
Haacke, whose background is mostly in international business, is the president of Cross Border Consulting and has traveled to Asia on numerous occasions for work. He told the board he still travels to China, with one mandatory corporate meeting taking place overseas, but said he has flexibility regarding his work schedule.
Previously, Haacke was a vice president at Melaleuca from 2007 to 2016 and worked in Idaho State Governor’s State Trade Missions from 2008 to 2012, according to his resume.
“I like how he said he would look at the data. I think that’s important,” trustee Larry Wilson said Thursday night.
Haacke said he and his wife have lived in Idaho Falls for 12 years with their five children. He’s coached within Skyline’s sports program and is fluent in Mandarin. He also worked on the Salt Lake Olympic Committee during the 2002 Winter Olympics.
He received his Bachelor of Science in public health policy, with minors in Chinese and gerontology, from BYU (Provo) before earning his master’s in business administration from Washington University in St. Louis.
“In my career I too have faced complex problems that required broad approaches to find a resolution,” Haacke said in his letter of interest to the board. “I have learned to negotiate and brings opposing sides together to resolve issues.”
The next board meeting is scheduled for Wednesday.