Theurer, Wright appointed to Board of Regents

By Michael McFall

Gov. Jon Huntsman appointed Utah Board of Education member Teresa Theurer and lawyer Joel Wright as new members of the Utah Board of Regents on June 13. They will replace Sara Sinclair and Josh Reid, respectively, who will resign in July.

The appointment comes a week after Huntsman declined Theurer’s intention to run for a third term on the Utah Board of Education. Huntsman said he is grateful for Theurer’s willingness to serve in this important capacity, though Theurer said they have not had a chance to talk about the Regents position yet.

“The timing is pretty interesting,” said Theurer, who has served on several other state and national committees. She hadn’t planned on serving on the Board of Regents until now, but Theurer said she looks forward to the challenge of serving for the next six years.

Theurer will retain her position on the Board of Education until her term ends this December and another official is elected to take her place.

With her experience on the school board, Theurer said she hopes she can help public and higher education institutions work and coordinate together for the benefit of the students.

“I know Sara (Sinclair) pretty well, and I hope to talk to her…and learn about what it is I’ll be doing,” she said.

The most important thing Theurer brings to the Board of Regents is communication between public and higher education, which is something that has been a government goal, said Huntsman’s spokeswoman Lisa Roskelley.

Wright, the other appointee, said the U and other state universities need to spend less time on remedial education, which should be mastered during high school.

“I love high school football, but if that student leaves high school and hasn’t mastered basic math, we have failed that kid,” he said. Wright hopes his time on the board can improve the situation, though as one of its youngest members, he said he will likely spend his early months doing more listening and learning.

Wright also said his experience as a land use and planning lawyer for the Kirton & McConkie law firm should help bring an understanding of the economic tensions between universities and the surrounding community to the board.

His unique perspective as a lawyer and experience on the Utah State Charter School Board should help build continuity between public grade school education and higher education, Roskelley said.

Wright said that since Utah has the largest youth demographic in the country, it is that much more important to strengthen education. He is honored that the governor shows such tremendous confidence to help get the job done.

Both appointments need to be confirmed by the Utah State Senate before assuming their positions on the board. The Senate meets next in August.

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Teresa Theurer.