IOWA CITY — Dromi Etsey, an Iowa City woman who is originally from Ghana, West Africa, was appointed to the Iowa City school board earlier this week to fill a vacancy created by the resignation of Paul Roesler, who resigned in August to teach at Helen Lemme Elementary.
In her application for the position, Etsey said she believes she can help formulate policies to improve student achievement and advocate for the success of every child, especially those from different countries and cultures.
Etsey will begin her term at the next school board meeting Sept. 22. She will serve until the next scheduled school board election in November 2021. She said she does not know if she will run for school board at that time.
Etsey was one of 12 people to apply for the open board seat. Each applicant was given three minutes to address the board Tuesday night.
School board members nominated five candidates before taking a vote. The nominated candidates were ranked by the school board, and Etsey prevailed in a weighted vote.
A motion to appoint Etsey was adopted unanimously.
School board President Shawn Eyestone said when considering a candidate for school board, he thought about the equality initiatives the school board is working on.
“One request was to have a board that’s more representative of our community,” Eyestone said. “We had that opportunity here.”
Board member Janet Godwin said Etsey was an “appealing candidate” because she can help the board network with Iowa City’s international community and “help advance our equality agenda.”
Board members Ruthina Malone, Lisa Williams, Charlie Eastham and J.P. Claussen also spoke in favor of Etsey.
“I think her experience outside this country will help us understand the perspective of many people in this community,” Eastham said.
Etsey, who has lived in Iowa City for 10 years, graduated from the University of Ghana in 2009, with a bachelor of law degree, and graduated from the Ghana Law School. She graduated from the University of Iowa College of Law in 2014 and was an attorney in Cedar Rapids before joining the UI College of Law in 2017.
In her UI job, she worked with international students in the College of Law, seeking to help them feel welcome and succeed academically. She hopes to bring that same energy to the school board.
She is now a contracts analyst at Pearson Education.
The school board chose to appoint a school board member instead of holding a special election, which would have cost the district up to $70,000.
Johnson County residents could have prompted a special election by filing a petition signed by at least 100 registered voters or 30 percent of the turnout of the last school board election.
The petition would have had to be filed within 14 days of Roesler’s resignation.
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