Five file for school board

Four open seats to be voted on Sept. 12 in the Marshalltown district

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The filing period for four Marshalltown School Board seats closed Thursday afternoon, leaving five names for district voters to consider in the Sept. 12 election.

Three incumbent board directors will seek re-election, and they are members Mike Miller and Ben Fletcher, as well as President Bea Niblock. Board member Kendall Derby did not file for re-election.

The other two candidates, Mid-Iowa Community Action Every Child Ready Coordinator Karina Hernández and Peglow, O’Hare and See P.L.C. attorney Laura Eilers, are set to challenge for the available seats. All the candidates but Fletcher are running for full four-year terms, while the board-selected Fletcher will run for a two-year term.

“I think that we have a pretty strong cadre of board directors, we work very well together,” said Niblock, a former district educator and administrator who had previously questioned whether or not she would run in 2017. “I would like to continue to work with them to move the district forward.”

Miller, the CEO of Racom, said the board has made “good strides” since he was selected to fill a vacancy in January of 2016. He ran for and won his seat in the 2016 election, and now must run again due to that seat being up in the 2017 election cycle.

“I’m very proud of the open communication and seeking of public input we’ve done to make sure everyone is included,” Miller said. “The hiring of [Superintendent] Dr. [Theron] Schutte, Roundhouse Phase II and the strategic plan are great examples.”

He said if re-elected, he will focus on completing work on the strategic plan, increasing academic and athletic pride in the district and to “positively differentiate MCSD” from other school districts.

Hernández, who previously worked at the district for 12 years and currently works as an Every Child Ready Coordinator at Mid-Iowa Community Action, said she’s got the necessary skills to be a good board member.

“With my background in education, I feel like I’m capable of providing that leadership and vision that the district has for our children here in Marshalltown,” she said, adding she has experience as a district parent. “I like to serve the community; I think that’s something I’ll be able to do as a board member.”

Hernández has worked closely with the district on programs like Munch and More and Rogers University.

Eilers, said she’d given a lot of thought to filing as a school board candidate.

“I’ve been considering it for a while,” she said. “I eventually decided to take the leap this year.”

A parent to a young child, Eilers said she and her husband plan to stay in the district for the long term.

“I’m interested in trying to help out in any way I can,” she said.

While board member Ben Fletcher could not be reached by press time Thursday, he has previously stated why he in interested in running.

“I always intended to run,” Fletcher said this past April in an interview with the T-R. “The reason is really the same as what I said when I was interviewed for the appointment: I think public service is important, public education is important, I think it’s important for the community as a whole that we have a strong school system.”

Fletcher, of Emerson Process Management, was selected to the board to fill a vacancy in October of 2016. He is the only person filed to run for his two-year seat, which is up again in the 2019 election due to its normal election cycle.

The school board election is set for Sept. 12.

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Contact Adam Sodders at (641) 753-6611 or asodders@timesrepublican.com