The school board election returns three members and adds a new face to the mix

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Lauren Waypa, Writer

The Owatonna School Board election was held on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022. Over the weekend of Nov. 5-6, there were a few conferences with all of the candidates that were open for the community to attend or watch online. There were 11 candidates and only four spots for the school board were open for re-election. These new school board members will be on the board for the next four years. 

The 11 candidates were: Lloyd Brandt, Nikki Gieseke, Jan Guse, Elizabeth Hedlund, Michael Herman, Josh Indahl, Jolayne Mohs, April St. Martin, Mark Sebring, Lori Weisenburger and Colin Whalen. All of the candidates come from different backgrounds and have different lives, but the thing all the candidates have in common is wanting to be a part of and help the community through the school board. Candidates want to be a voice for Owatonna as school board members. 

The four school board members that were elected on Tuesday, Nov. 8 were incumbents Sebring,  Weisenburg,  Mohs and  newly elected Hedlund.  Having a new member on the school board will bring new ideas and more opportunities. 

The role of the school board is to provide governance for the school district. Superintendent Mr. Jeff Elstad said, “Owatonna Public Schools inspires a community of learners with equitable access to high quality, innovative learning opportunities ensuring all students are college, career and life ready.” The school board helps insure these ideas are put into place by setting annual budgets and creating and revising policies.

Along with the school board members, there are also two student representatives for the high school. Previously, there has been one senior representative, but this year the district added one more student representative so there would be one junior and one senior. The student representatives are senior Hailey Kjersten and junior Jace Forcelle from the high school. The role of the student representatives is to put in the student body voice when necessary in conversations. 

This is Kjersten’s first year as a student representative, as she is a senior this year. She is also involved with Speech, Mock Trial, Key Club, Student Council, Girls United, Green Team and Big Brothers Big Sisters. Kjersten said, “An important skill for the members is to be willing to listen to others and set your own biases aside”. Coming together is one crucial way for the school board members to succeed and to make positive changes.