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The Scarlet & Black

Feven Getachew
Feven Getachew
May 6, 2024
Michael Lozada
Michael Lozada
May 6, 2024
Nathan Hoffman
Nathan Hoffman
May 6, 2024
Harvey Wilhelm `24.
Harvey Wilhelm
May 6, 2024

Newly elected school board members discuss goals and concerns


On Sept. 12, the Grinnell-Newburg Community School District held elections for its school board. The results were announced unofficially on the Poweshiek county website — finalized results are still awaiting canvassing by the auditor’s office.

Barbara Brown, who was reelected to the board and will hold a four-year director-at-large position, looks forward to working with the district to focus on infrastructure.

“I’m looking forward to another four years serving on the board and supporting the awesome work of our teachers,” Brown wrote in an email to The S&B. “Under our current superintendent, our district has developed a cohesiveness that allows us to focus more completely on delivering an exceptional education to our students. The board and district will be working now to form a comprehensive plan for our facilities, likely bringing a proposal for new or remodeled school buildings to a bond vote in the coming year.”

Meg Jones Bair, who previously held the District 3 director position, moved out of the district and was elected to a four-year director-at-large position. Jones-Bair wants emphasis on a high quality of education and getting families involved in their children’s schooling.

“School Board members have many responsibilities, but our primary one is to provide high quality education to the students in our district. It is critically important that we strive for equity throughout the district — all children deserve the same opportunities,” Jones Bair wrote in an email to The S&B. “In addition to our responsibilities as board members, personally I’m invested in exploring a single K-4 building, getting more families involved in areas of our schools that interest them most and in utilizing the resources/partnerships in our community that will enrich the education delivered in our classrooms.”

Jones Bair is also looking forward to working with Dr. Janet Stutz, the superintendent of the district.

“To me, one of the board’s greatest responsibilities is placing the best superintendent in the role. The board is only responsible for that single position and it is critical to have the right person in that role,” Jones Bair wrote. “We are fortunate to have Dr. Janet Stutz, and the board will work with her to carry out the vision she and her team have created for the district. It is important for people to know that the board governs while the superintendent manages, and that’s a line that we have to stay on the right side of, for the good of the district.”

Stephen Sieck, who formerly held a director-at-large position, was elected to a two-year director-at-large position. He is interested in focusing on the budget and different technological changes.

“I’m excited to serve on the board for the next two years as we continue finding ways to balance the district budget, support our highly qualified and passionate staff by providing them with the necessary resources to serve each individual student, as well as exploring how best to utilize our facilities as technology and pedagogy changes,” Sieck wrote in an email to The S&B.

Helen Redmond was reelected to the District 2 director position. She too is interested in continuing to focus on the budget and reduce the deficit, as well as expanding programing at the schools.

“We’ve begun to get a handle on our operating budget, reducing the deficit by about 500,000 dollars, while expanding our programming to include Spanish at the middle school and computer science at the high school,” Redmond wrote in an email to The S&B. “We need to continue to be mindful of our budget while providing support for teachers and the best education possible for students. We need to focus on facilities, and look toward one building for elementary students, and making sure we have equity for all of our students.”

Laurel Tuggle ’13 and Emily Guenther were also elected for seats on the board. Tuggle will serve a four-year term as director for District 1 while Guenther will sit as District 3 director for a two-year term.

In Tuggle’s opening statement at the school board forum hosted by the League of Women Voters, she cited her previous involvement with the district when she completed a mental health survey as a major reason for why she chose to run.

“The focus on mental health is really important to me, especially at those younger ages when there’s not as much support currently,” she said. “Also improving resources for teachers and support for professional development and resources in the classroom.”

Emily Guenther directly stated her reason for running for a board position during the forum.

“The reason that I am running for the board is not for any particular issue or policy reason, it’s that I think that public education is really important and needs to be supported and maintained, and that it requires a great deal of effort to maintain at all times so that you don’t just enter at crisis moments or to enact change, you continually support public education. I also just think it’s time for me to be engaged civically in the community,” she said. “I think this is a good way for me to be involved because my specialty has been in education over the years.”

Dustin Smith will also continue to serve on the board as director of District 4, finishing out his four-year term which expires in 2019.

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