School board candidates named


School board candidates named

By Union news staff


Patrons of North Fayette and Valley will take to the polls for the 2013 school board elections on Tuesday, Sept. 10.

Current seats to be on the upcoming North Fayette ballot are Julie Ahrens of Fayette, District 5; Karen Michelson of Fayette, District 6; and Carolyn Roys of West Union, District 7. 

Kathy Wenthold of West Union, District 4, chose not to seek reelection. With no other residents submitting nomination forms by the Aug. 1 deadline, the District 4 seat could be retained by a write-in candidate.  

Meanwhile, incumbent board president Mark Howard will be joined by KinDee Durnan and Debra Loftsgard in vying for two seats on the Valley ballot. Board member Tim Orr chose not to seek reelection.  

All terms of the aforementioned seats are for four years. 

North Fayette and Valley will maintain separate school boards during their three-year whole-grade sharing agreement.  

At the same time, the school boards plan to hold joint school board meetings/work sessions periodically through each school year. The first joint school board meeting of the 2013-2014 school year is scheduled for Monday, Sept. 16, at the Valley School library

North Fayette candidates

Julie Ahrens and her husband, Ron, live in Fayette. She is currently 70 years old and retired from Upper Iowa University, where she worked as an academic advisor. 

Ahrens first came to northeast Iowa when she worked as a manager for Peoples Natural Gas over 20 years ago. She is now employed part-time as a pastor for United Methodist Church in Arlington and Volga. Her family includes five children, as well as two grandchildren who currently attend North Fayette Community School. 

Ahrens has been on the school board for five years and is seeking re-election. She enjoys working with the board and keeping up with changes as they are occurring. She has always been interested in education and feels it is her responsibility to be involved in this type of service to the community. 

Karen Michelson and her husband, Scot, live in Fayette. She is currently employed at Moss Roofing as an office assistant and has worked there for the past six years. She and Scot have four children, all of whom have passed through the North Fayette school district. Their family has lived in the district since 1986. 

Michelson has been on the board for nearly 15 years and is seeking re-election. She is running because she would like to continue working with the board and the whole-grade sharing agreement with Valley, seeing it through to the end. She would also like to do what she can to make certain the district will remain viable and accountable in the years to come. 

Michelson feels that the best interests of the children in the district should be a priority and has made that her goal as a board member.

Carolyn Roys and her husband, Shad, live in West Union. She is currently 35 years old and working at Upper Iowa University as an academic affairs specialist. She and her husband have two children, and their family has lived in West Union since 1998.

Roys has been on the board for approximately one year, having been appointed to complete the last year of a previous board member who moved away. She is seeking re-election because she enjoys working with the school board and learning new things. 

Serving as a board member has allowed her to be involved in the community and have first-hand knowledge of issues facing the school district. She also would like to remain on the board as whole-grade sharing with Valley begins and develops.  

Valley candidates

Mark Howard and his wife, Brenda, live on a farm eight miles outside of West Union. The couple have two children, Kate, 25, and Seth, 21.

“Education is a high priority for me and my family,” explained the school board nominee. 

“I would like to follow through with the work we have been doing,” said Howard in agreement with North Fayette in regard to the whole-grade sharing. “I am excited for the opportunities for kids and the community.” 

Howard has been on the Valley school board for the last seven years.

KinDee Durnan and her husband, Eric, of Wadena have seven children ranging in age from 6 to 16. She is a stay-at-home mother. 

“I don’t care for the decisions they (current school board members) are making,” said Durnan. “I am opposed to whole-grade sharing.”

Debra Loftsgard is from Wadena. She and her husband, Jarrod, have three children, ages 10, 7, and 4. 

She teaches seventh- through 12-grade social studies at Starmont. 

“For me, the big push to run is to keep moving forward with whole-grade sharing,” said Loftsgard. “It is great for both schools (Valley and North Fayette).”

Additional information on the school board candidates will be published as the election draws near.


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