Adelaida Severson was chosen Thursday by the Gilbert Unified School District as the nominee to fill a vacancy on the governing board.
Severson, the president and co-owner of Bushtex Inc., was chosen among 13 applicants interested in a position Van Dunham will vacate Nov. 11.
"I am very humbled and honored," said Severson, 44, who has three sons in the district. "There's a great list of people that put in as applicants. For me to surface to the top, I felt good about it."
A team consisting of board president Thad Stump, Superintendent Dave Allison and Gilbert Education Association president Jo Bell interviewed the candidates. The team needed to submit their nominee, along with two alternate nominees, to Maricopa County Superintendent of Schools Donald Covey by Friday.
The team chose Debra Carr and Steve Trussell as alternates. They and Severson will attend a nominee seminar Nov. 14.
Covey is expected to appoint a board member by Nov. 20. The new board member is then expected to attend the first board meeting on Nov. 24.
"We are fortunate to have such a highly qualified pool of applicants," Stump said in an announcement. "It was extremely difficult to make a choice among this dedicated group. We look forward to the continued support that all the applicants have shown to the district."
Severson is also an adjunct lecturer at Arizona State University, a co-founder of the Parent Legislative Network and vice president of the Gilbert Education Foundation Board.
She applied for last year's school board vacancy and also ran last year for a Gilbert school board seat.
Severson said she wants to be a part of the Gilbert school board because she feels she can be a "fresh voice."
"I want to offer whatever expertise I can to bring in the community at large," she said. "I'm hoping I can bring everyone from outside of the box in."
Severson has a doctorate in public administration from ASU, an international broadcast journalism master's degree from ASU, and bachelor's degrees in broadcast journalism and international relations from the University of Southern California.
Severson's three sons attend Ashland Ranch Elementary School. Lars is a fifth-grader, and Brock and Swen are second graders.
Her husband, Barry, is the co-owner of Bushtex.
Bushtex will be honored Friday night as one of Comerica Bank's "Arizona Companies to Watch." It was chosen among 300 state companies that made at least $750,000 in revenue. Bushtex provides satellite transmissions remotely worldwide for news, special events and for the government, Severson said.
Alternate nominees to fill the board vacancy include Carr, a member of the Parent Legislative Action Network, a representative on the Parent/Superintendent Council and a member of the Citizens Financial Advisory Committee, an advisory panel to the superintendent. She also applied for the school board vacancy last year.
Carr has a bachelor's degree in marketing from the University of Nebraska and has three children in Gilbert schools.
Also chosen as an alternate was Trussell, an executive director of the Arizona Rock Products Association. He is a former teacher and instructional aide in the Mesa school district.
He has a master's of secondary education from ASU, a post-baccalaureate teaching certificate from Ottawa University and a history degree from ASU.
Trussell has two children in the district.