The Whitewater School Board filled a vacancy Monday night with a man who grew up in the city, now works at UW-Whitewater and said he can serve as a liaison for the Latino community.

The board voted 5-1 to select Miguel Aranda, 29, of 243 N. Park St., as its newest member.

Three other candidates interviewed to replace Jean Linos. The board narrowed the field down to two before voting for Aranda.

Superintendent Mark Elworthy said Linos left the board for personal reasons.

Aranda, who is fluent in Spanish, mentioned his involvement in Latino outreach in the city.

With a teacher Aranda described as an “anchor” to the local Latino community planning to leave, he said he wants to make sure Latino students will still have someone in the district to look up to.

He said he had “great mentors” during his schooling in Whitewater.

“I feel very proud to be involved within the school district,” he said after the vote. “I’ve always been involved within the community, and it (being on the board) just gives it a little more official sense to it.

“But I will continue the hard work that I always believe I have done.”

Aranda, a financial specialist at UW-W who also is studying there, said he has family in all five of the district’s schools and that two of his relatives work for the district. He has two children, ages 4 and 2.

He said his financial experience will help on the board, as will his familiarity with state policy.

“Education is very important to me,” he said. “I do believe that education is at the forefront of making a better society.”

Board Clerk Steve Ryan told Aranda after the meeting that he remembered when Aranda was a student at the middle school.

Aranda will fill the seat until the April election, but he said Monday he does not plan to run for another term on the board.

He said he is committed to the civic work he is involved in pertaining to the election, such as increasing voter turnout and working as a poll worker, and that he could not participate in those activities if he was on the ballot.

He said, however, that he is open to running for the board someday.