Lily Tram was appointed to the vacant seat on the Gilbert Unified School District board on Friday by Maricopa County Superintendent of Schools Sandra Dowling.
Tram is scheduled to be sworn in Monday in time to participate in Tuesday’s board meeting.
Tram is a senior financial services manager for Arizona State University. She has worked at ASU since 1989 as an accountant, director of fiscal and business services and financial accounting manager. She has a bachelor’s degree in management from ASU and has three children in the Gilbert district.
Tram said she was “shocked” she was chosen.
“I’m really excited and ready to participate,” Tram said on Friday.
She said she decided to apply for the board because, after volunteering for a lot of things, she thought this was a natural step in the right direction.
In her letter of intent, Tram said she was qualified for the position because of her volunteering time in her children’s classrooms and on field trips, and with the Phoenix Chinese School and many cultural events across the Valley.
She also said her accounting and budgeting background and her experiences with ASU would be an asset to the Gilbert school board.
Tram did not turn in any letters of recommendation, one of the only applicants not to do so. She will fill the vacancy created by the departure of Traci Klein, who left abruptly in early February for unknown reasons.
School board president Helen Hollands said she is “pleased that someone has been appointed.”
“I look forward to meeting Lily,” Hollands said. “I wish her all the best. It’s an awesome responsibility, and I’m thrilled she was willing to step up and take it on.”
Tram was one of the four original finalists chosen in early March out of the 13 board applicants. But after the list was narrowed, Maricopa County Deputy Superintendent of Schools Ted Carpenter, who had been out of the office for a couple of weeks, opted to have all the applicants interviewed. One applicant withdrew her application when it was opened back up.
The move came after at least four legislators petitioned on behalf of board applicant Holly Reycraft, after she had been cut from the list by the county superintendent of schools office.
County officials said the phone calls and e-mails had no influence on the decision to interview the remaining applicants, who were thought to have been out of the running.
Blake Sacha, one of the original four finalists, said in his 20 years in the business world, the school district’s selection process “was the least professional process” he had ever been involved in.
“All of the communication that I’ve received came from the newspaper, rather than the superintendent’s office,” Sacha said. “I have high hopes that they have selected a very qualified candidate, but I certainly didn’t think very highly of the process they used or the communication that was used throughout the process.”