(No date) – KMA News continues its “Project 2021” series, featuring the best local and regional stories from the past year. Today’s segment is the second focusing on the races and results surrounding the November general election. This report recalls some of KMAland’s most intriguing school board races.
School board positions were up for grabs across KMAland on November 2. In the Shenandoah school district, four candidates have run for three four-year terms on the board. Two of the candidates elected in November were incumbents. Jean Fichter was first elected to the board of directors in 2017. In an interview with KMA News as part of our “Meet the Candidates” reporting series, Fichter said she sought re-election because ‘she was keen to continue the district’s recent streak of success in many areas, including its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Obviously, there have been a lot of ups and downs,” Fichter said, “and many tough decisions that had to be made. Balancing the demands of the state, the public health department of the Iowa, CDC – all of those things were a huge challenge in figuring out how best to make things happen in our community.
Adam Van Der Vliet was also re-elected. A longtime member of the Shenandoah Athletic Booster Club, Van Der Vliet says he ran for a second term because the district made strides in early career technical education programs, with opportunities for workplace learning through internships and apprenticeships. He believes that hands-on learning is the best form of education.
“For me, myself, I am a visual learner,” he said. “I was probably not the best learner or student in the classroom. But, for me, the opportunity that we can give these kids to get their hands dirty and see in the real world what it is to build something, to create something. thing, run a business Looks like it would be the best I think we could do for our vocational technical education. “
One of the two challengers in the race won third place. Clint Wooten said he came to the school board because he wanted to get more involved in the district and create more opportunities for students, including CTE classes.
“I think we are starting on the right track with the workplace learning programs that are used in the district,” said Wooten, “which include work studies, shadowing and internships. also think we have very good teachers and staff in our district, but to retain these teachers we need to listen to their concerns, assess their needs and look at the opportunities we can give them to stay in the area because without a base solid, we’ll never have a great neighborhood. “
Kris Anderzohn, a second challenger in the race, was fourth. Another incumbent, Kathy Langley, has chosen not to stand for re-election. Another candidate, Benne Rogers, was not contested for a two-year term to fill a position left vacant by the resignation of Darrin Bouray last June. Rogers was appointed to this post in July.
Perhaps the most intriguing school board race was Clarinda, where seven candidates sought two board positions. When the smoke cleared, Scott Honeyman finished first in the race, while Paul Boysen was second. In a “Meet the Candidates” interview, Honeyman said there were several factors that prompted him to run for the board, including staff turnover.
“Anytime you’re trying to develop a goal-oriented team or institution,” said Honeyman, “constant turnover is difficult to establish any type of consistency, whether it’s early childhood education , sports, extracurricular activities, just that leadership turnover. When it is constantly changing, there is no consistent direction, being able to build on the momentum and goals you have achieved previously. It is important to have continuity. “
Speaking on the cover of KMA’s “Election Night in KMAland”, Boysen praised voters for participating in the hotly contested race.
“I want to thank everyone who came out to vote and supported us during the campaign,” Boysen said. “The district needs to have people who are serious about the well-being of the district and are working to make it one of the best districts in the state of Iowa.”
Starter Ann Sunderman Meyer was third. Cade Iversen, Patrick Hickey, Karen Ratashak Perala and Jay Lininger completed the field.
Meanwhile, the Essex School Board election results created a mix of new and familiar faces. Four candidates contested two positions on the board of directors. The incumbent Rebecca Franks was the top voter, followed by challenger Cole Thornton. A 25-year member of the Essex Fire Department, Franks says she ran for a second term to continue bringing new ideas to the district.
“When I first ran our school board was kinda in need of some people who had new ideas, wanted and needed to keep our school alive and in Essex,” Franks said. “I feel like the board we’ve done has done a good job of looking ahead, and not just making cuts to keep our school open, and opening new programs and improving our curriculum,” not only to keep our students as we have done, but also to increase our open enrollment in the district. “
Thornton says he participated in the school board run to make sure the school can continue to support the community.
“I think given how the recent past has been, the school board needs so many people in the school board and make sure that people stay, who intend to keep the school board. ‘open school,’ Thornton said. “I don’t think it’s a secret, school is the lifeblood of any small town like this, and it’s best for everyone to stay there.”
Starter Lori Racine and challenger Donald Olson finished third and fourth, respectively. In our next “Project 2021” report on Monday, we’ll come back to a dark day in American history – the January 6 attack on the United States Capitol – and how two Congressional officials from KMAland were caught in the crossfire. events of this day. .