By Dave Fidlin

Correspondent

A graduate of Whitewater High School and the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater has been chosen to keep a recently vacated seat on the Whitewater Unified School District’s School Board warm through next spring.

The six sitting members of WUSD’s School Board selected lifelong Whitewater resident Miguel Aranda to the position at a special meeting Sept. 16. Aranda succeeds Jean Linos, who resigned from the position.

Aranda, who was one of four residents within WUSD’s boundaries to vie for the open position, was interviewed during the special meeting.

“Education is very important to me,” Aranda said. “I do believe education is at the forefront of making a better society. Education is big in my heart.”

While he has a bachelor’s degree in hand, Aranda, 29, is back at UW-Whitewater, furthering his education and working toward a master’s degree in business administration.

During his brief dialogue with the School Board, Aranda touched on his ethnic and cultural heritage and said he aspires to bridge cultural gaps within the community. The endeavor, he said, is not exclusive to his serving on the School Board.

“I can be that liaison,” Aranda, who is fluent in Spanish, said of working with the city’s Latino community.

On a broader scale, Aranda touched on some of the other issues he believes are impacting WUSD now and on the road ahead.

“I know transportation has been a big one for some parents that I’ve talked to,” Aranda said. “I know that has been a citywide thing, and I would still focus on that for the city.”

Aranda, who works as a senior finance specialist at UW-Whitewater’s University Center, said he also has gained an understanding of how government budgeting works and has grasped numerous issues within state policy.

“It’s an interesting time,” Aranda said of the numerous decisions that go into crafting a budget.

Aranda has notched a number of personal and professional accomplishments, according to a news release on the appointment on WUSD’s website.

His personal accomplishments include receipt of UW-Whitewater’s annual University Staff Excellence Award, being appointed coordinator of Voto Latino Wisconsin and being named vice chair of the city’s Community Involvement and Cable TV Commission.

The other candidates were Nick Baldwin, Andrew Crone and Maryann Zimmerman.

The six incumbent board members were asked to cast ballots in favor of a top candidate in two rounds of voting.

In the first round, Aranda and Zimmerman emerged as the top two candidates.

In the second round, Aranda was chosen as the successor to Linos’ position on a 5-1 vote. Board member Jennifer Kienbaum cast her vote in Zimmerman’s favor.

Aranda’s spot on the School Board runs through April. At that time, residents will cast a vote to determine who will fill the remainder of Linos’ seat.

 
 

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