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Trustees 'reopen search' for Utah tech education commissioner

New interim commissioner named after

FILE - After meeting twice in executive session in October to interview and consider four finalists for a new state commissioner of technical education, the Utah System of Technical Colleges Board of Trustees will reopen the search.
FILE - After meeting twice in executive session in October to interview and consider four finalists for a new state commissioner of technical education, the Utah System of Technical Colleges Board of Trustees will reopen the search.
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SALT LAKE CITY — After meeting twice in executive session this month to interview and review four finalists for a new state commissioner of technical education, the Utah System of Technical Colleges board of trustees will reopen the search.

The trustees announced "a postponement of final selection for the position of commissioner of technical education" and Tuesday named Jared Haines, associate commissioner of the system, as interim commissioner.

On Oct. 15, the trustees interviewed four finalists but held off naming a new commissioner to allow time to conduct further "due diligence."

The finalists included Tami Pyfer, education adviser to Utah Gov. Gary Herbert; Rick Bouillon, associate vice president for workforce and economic development at Salt Lake Community College; Russell Galt, vice president of administrative services at Davis Technical College; and Dan Peterson, CEO and president of Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

The board of trustees met again Tuesday to review the candidates and possibly appoint a new commissioner, according to its agenda, but instead announced the search had been reopened and Bouwhuis' interim role would be ending.

“Given the significance of the role of commissioner, the trustees feel more time is needed to fill the position and, after we engage a thorough review of our processes, will reopen our search,” the trustees said in a statement.

Haines replaces Michael Bouwhuis, who has served in the interim role since August following the resignation of former Commissioner Dave Woolstenhulme.

"Commissioner Bouwhuis has served the system over 40 years, including his role as interim commissioner. We thank him for his dedication and look forward to working with Commissioner Haines as we attend to the important business of oversight of the technical colleges,” trustees Chairman Jim Evans said in the statement.

Woolstenhulme resigned in July to become vice president of regional campuses at Utah State University. He was the state's first commissioner of technical education after the position was created by the Utah Legislature in 2015.

Haines will serve as interim commissioner until the board’s search concludes in April 2019. The trustees' appointment is subject to the approval of the governor and confirmation by the state Senate.

The Utah System of Technical Colleges includes eight technology colleges from Logan to St. George. They are Bridgerland Technical College in Logan; Davis Technical Collegein Kaysville, Dixie Technical College in St. George; Mountainland Technical College in Lehi; Ogden Technical College; Southwest Technical College in Cedar City; Tooele Technical College and Uintah Basin Technical College in Vernal.

The colleges had a combined enrollment of more than 33,800 secondary and post-secondary students during the 2017-18 school year.