Ken Brague, a medical salesman with five children in the Queen Creek Unified School District, was named Thursday as the newest member of the district governing board.
Brague was one of five applicants and the nominee chosen by a district team to fill the position vacated by Natalie Lamb in August.
"I'm excited and a little nervous," said Brague, 41, whose five children attend four Queen Creek schools. "I'm looking forward to being able to serve in the community and to help with our schools to continue to excel. I'm also looking forward to working with everyone on the board and in the school system."
Brague was chosen by Maricopa County Superintendent of Schools Donald Covey to fill the vacancy. He received a call from Covey's office Thursday morning to give him the news.
Brague will be sworn in as a Queen Creek board member at Covey's Phoenix office at 11 a.m. Monday and will attend his first Queen Creek board meeting on Dec. 1. He'll fill the spot until December 2012, when Lamb's term would have ended.
Lamb left the board because she planned to move to Central America to join her husband, who has been working on land development in Panama for about a year.
A district team consisting of board president Jeff Black, Superintendent James Murlless and Queen Creek Elementary School teacher Tara Bernier interviewed the five applicants interested in filling the board vacancy. The team chose Brague as its nominee and also chose alternates Brett Sterkel and Joel Benavides.
Black said the team chose Brague as the district's nominee because of his enthusiasm, "good interests" in what the district was doing, and "he had no agenda."
"He (Brague) was very sincere in his interest in improving the district, learning about how to do that and not coming in with a preconceived agenda," Black said. "He had interest with the schools in mind. He understood he brought in a unique perspective (since his children attend four Queen Creek schools)."
Brague, who works at Smiths Medical, is also a volunteer with Helping Hands who is helping to build a home in Queen Creek.
He has been married for 17 years to Allison, a stay-at-home mom.
The Brague family includes Joelle, a sophomore at Queen Creek High School; Kyle, an eighth-grader at Newell Barney Junior High School; Jocelyn, a sixth-grader at Queen Creek Middle School; Connor, a third-grader at Desert Mountain Elementary School; and Bridgette, a first-grader at Desert Mountain.
Brague has a psychology degree from Brigham Young University.
The three chosen candidates attended a four-hour nominee seminar Nov. 14. Black was supposed to attend but wasn't able to because of a family wedding.
The seminar provided prospective board members with presentations on responsibilities of a board member and the state's financial situation.
"There's going to be a lot of challenges in the future with the economy the way it is," Brague said. "It was a very interesting seminar."
This is the first year Covey has implemented new rules for selecting a board member to fill a vacancy. The new rules put more of the responsibility on the district to choose.
"I do like the process better," Black said. "It allows for us to have some local control."