Mileski appointed to Bay College board

ESCANABA — Former Menominee Area Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Terri Mileski was appointed to fill a vacancy on the Bay College Board of Trustees during a special meeting of the board Friday afternoon. This appointment was made after board members interviewed the two finalists for the open position.

In December 2017, Stephen O’Driscoll and James Hermans resigned from the Bay College Board of Trustees due to incompatibility of office issues. O’Driscoll serves on the Gladstone Area Schools Board of Education, and Hermans serves on the Escanaba Area Public School District Board of Education.

The board received a legal opinion from the Michigan Attorney General’s office in November stating that, under Michigan’s Incompatible Public Offices Act, individuals cannot serve on boards for colleges and K-12 school districts at the same time. As a result, O’Driscoll and Hermans were required to resign from either the Bay College Board of Trustees or their respective K-12 boards.

The seats previously held by O’Driscoll and Hermans have been filled by appointment in keeping with state law. A total of 12 candidates applied for the board vacancies, and the board voted in favor of appointing former Delta County Circuit Court Judge Stephen Davis to O’Driscoll’s former seat during a special meeting Wednesday.

The board’s Friday meeting began with an interview of Mileski. During this interview, Mileski spoke about her time spent working in education and why she wanted to serve on the Bay College Board of Trustees.

“While I was ready to end my K-12 career, I really wasn’t ready to end my involvement in education — I really wanted to know that we’re doing the best humanly possible that we can for kids in this area,” Mileski said. In addition to her work in Menominee, she was a superintendent for Concord Community Schools in Jackson County and Rapid River Public Schools.

In response to a question on whether or not she would be able to “change gears” from her previous role as a superintendent to function as a trustee, Mileski said she did not believe this would be an issue due to her firsthand knowledge of how school boards function.

“I can tell you without hesitation that … I would have absolutely no problem making that transition whatsoever,” she said.

Board members went on to interview the other finalist for this position, former Bay College student Patricia Tighe. Tighe currently works as a clinical therapist at Catholic Social Services of the Upper Peninsula. Before coming back to the area, she was a social worker at Covenant House New York in New York City.

Tighe noted that, since she moved back to the Upper Peninsula, she had been looking for a way to use her skills to benefit the community.

“Education is important to me, Bay College is important to me … I’d like to be a part of that,” she said.

While answering a question about why her time spent outside of the U.P. made her an ideal candidate for the board, Tighe said this could allow her to bring a fresh perspective to the Bay College Board of Trustees and the college as a whole.

“Seeing how the rest of the world works is helpful,” she said.

After discussing both candidates’ interviews, the board voted to appoint Mileski to fill the seat previously held by Hermans. They made this decision primarily because of Mileski’s level of experience with K-12 schools and school boards.

“This was not an easy decision for the board,” Trustee Philip Strom said.

Bay College President Laura Coleman said she is looking forward to working with Mileski.

“We are very excited to add Terri to the board,” she said. “She is going to give us that added K-12 viewpoint that we have always enjoyed and (relied) on.”

Mileski said she is glad to have a chance to serve on the Bay College Board of Trustees.

“I really feel privileged and honored to be able to be of service in education,” she said.

Coleman noted that she hopes to be able to provide opportunities for Tighe and other applicants for the board vacancies to get involved with Bay College.

“This is a big change on our board, and we were very blessed to have so many qualified people apply, and we look forward to finding things that each of them can do with the college in the future,” she said.

Mileski and Davis will have to run for re-election this November. The person elected to fill Hermans’ former position in this race will receive a six-year term on the board, and the person elected to fill O’Driscoll’s former position will receive a four-year term.