Iowa’s newest member of its Board of Regents said she’s “honored and excited” to take on the job that lies ahead.
Gov. Terry Branstad on Monday appointed Sherry Bates, 62, of Scranton, to fill a vacancy on the nine-member board created by Nicole Carroll, 60, who resigned in November after her family moved to Texas. Bates, whose appointment is subject to Senate confirmation, will serve the remainder of Carroll’s term, which runs through April 30, 2017, according to the governor’s office.
“I thank the governor for thinking of me and appointing me,” Bates told The Gazette. “Education has been really important to me and my family.”
Bates, who grew up in Churdan, graduated from Iowa State University in 1974 with a degree in child development with an emphasis in community service. She worked on and off for the Iowa Department of Human Services from 1973 to 1987 before taking a position as a social worker with the Green County Medical Center, where she stayed until 2008.
During her career, Bates said, she worked with children, families, and juvenile delinquents, and she retired in 2008 to help her husband farm. Bates is a member of the Greene County Board of Health, the Scranton Telephone Board, and the Greene County Foundation Board. She previously served on the Scranton Library Board, according to the governor’s office.
Bates said she contacted the governor’s office and submitted an application after learning of the board opening. She doesn’t have any preconceived goals heading into her time as a regent.
“I’m looking forward to learning more about what the regents do in all the different areas,” Bates said. “I’m honored and excited about becoming a regent and getting to know the other board members.”
Because her career has been centered on serving others, Bates said, she believes her skill set and personality is a good fit for the board.
“Sherry’s work in her community and as a social worker demonstrates her commitment to public service,” Branstad said in a statement. “Her belief in affordable, world-class higher education will serve her well as a regent.”
The Board of Regents oversees operations at the University of Iowa, Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa, as well as the Iowa School for the Deaf and the Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School.
Regents serve staggered six-year terms, and Iowa Code requires that no more than five members be of the same political party. The law also requires the board be balanced by gender, meaning outgoing regent Carroll’s replacement had to be a woman registered as an Independent or Democrat.
Bates told The Gazette she is a registered Independent.
Jimmy Centers, spokesman for the governor’s office, said Branstad also considers geographic location when appointing regents. Carroll lived in Carroll, Iowa, before her family’s move. Scranton, where Bates lives, is about 18 miles east of Carroll.
The Board of Regents has been busy of late, rolling out a new funding model for distributing state allocations among the universities and undergoing an efficiency review that is expected to save tens of millions of dollars.
Bates said she expects to be with the board for its next meeting in February at UNI.