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December 3, 2020

10/23/2020 2:01:00 PM
ISD #118 School Board Election... Eight vie for four positions on Northland School Board

On November 3, Northland School District residents will be voting to fill four board member positions. Citizens who are running for these terms are incumbents Linda Knox, Terry Gross and Marc Ruyak and challengers Terri Nystrom, Jeremiah Fenning, James Dahl, Seth Robison and Kevin Olson.

Recently, the Press-Citizen submitted the following questions to the candidates. What motivates you to want to continue/become a board member? What particular skills or experiences qualify you to serve as a school board member? What are your best hopes/goals for the future of this school district?

The following candidates have responded as of Oct. 15. Any responses received after this date will be published in the following issue of the Pine Cone Press-Citizen.

Linda Knox

My motivation as a school board member is to keep the new school facilities as up to date as possible with a Long Term Maintenance schedule. This will allow our staff to teach our students in a good, clean and safe environment without large unexpected maintenance issues.

Being an employee of Northland Community Schools for 11 + years I gained knowledge on school finances as a Clerical Para doing Accounts Payable, Substitute Calling System, Special Education Secretary, and Payroll Clerk. Also upon being elected for the school board it is required to take Phase 1-4 training which teaches board members how a school board functions. I have completed all four. I have also served during my terms as Treasurer and Clerk on the board.

My future goals of our district is to make sure we get to a positive balanced budget while still giving our students what they need to meet their needs and full learning potential.

Marc Ruyak

I care deeply about our communities and the people in them. I grew up here, I graduated here, I left and I came back. I love it here and the people in our communities genuinely feel like family to me. I care about our children and their education. I care about the working mothers & fathers, the families. I want to make sure that our school is here for them and that if a child has the personal drive and determination to take advantage of what the school offers, their path forward is limitless.

I am a product of Northland, graduated in 1986. I am an Army & Gulf War Veteran. I am a small business owner with children in the school. I believe my life experiences and work history provide me a good foundation to help others to move our district forward.

Overall, my goal is for the residents of our area to be proud of the way that their tax dollars are spent and happy with the capabilities of the students that graduate each year. The District needs to operate in a positive spending manner that is a model for other districts in the north country. Along with that, my objective is for District 118 to return to the education levels and activity opportunities (sports & arts) of the past. To give every student the opportunity to get a great education and to participate in other activities in order to become a well-rounded American Citizen. The staff and administration should also be proud of our school, I want to help create an environment in which they feel proud to be a part.

Terri Nystrom

My motivation is simple, I care about the children in our community and want the best learning environment possible. I hope that, if I am elected, being part of the school board will help make District 118 the best that it can be. I also believe that when you have children in school that you should be involved in the education process. I can't think of a better way to be involved in my son's learning environment than to serve on the school board.

I have been part of the district as an employee for the past ten years. I started with three years at the Family Center Preschool, then worked a year in Special Education in the district preschool and another year of Special Education with a fourth-grade student and now serve as a Para-sub. While subbing I have worked in many areas of the school and know many of the other paras and teachers very well. I can honestly say that we have a lot of great teachers and support staff in our school. But, I also see that there are some issues, especially with discipline, that need to be addressed. I have spoken to Administration and I have been assured that they are taking the steps to address the problems and make sure ALL students are getting what they need. That said, there is still a lot of work to do and I hope that I can help in facilitating solutions that will be best for our students, but also help the staff be able to do their jobs more effectively.

My best hopes are that our school becomes a place that attracts families into our district. To do that, we need to raise our test scores and ratings by improving our academic rigors. We may need to update our discipline policy. We need to have better support systems and advanced learning opportunities for our teaching staff. I would like to see more learning opportunities for students that don't necessarily plan on attending a four-year college. I want to make our district one that we can all be proud of, one that the kids are excited to go to and one that our staff is more motivated to stay and have long careers at. I would also like to see more input from parents. As a board member, I would hope that parents would feel comfortable with contacting me with their concerns. I can't promise that all concerns will be solved but, I will sure try my best to do what I can.

Jeremiah Fenning

I would like to be involved in the things that are discussed and decided based on education and activities that are provided for this community. I also have 5 kids that attend this school district.

I have graduated from ISD 118, I've lived in the district for most of my life, I've helped coach elementary students in: Coaches pitch, T-Ball, Basketball, and Flag football. I'm dependable with a good work ethic.

Growth in numbers for staffing and students. Continue to improve education, activities, and programs for our community. I would like to continue to keep positive goals in mind with a successfully productive outcome for everyone.

Seth Robison

What motivates me to be a school board member is to give back to the school and community that I grew up in, as well as invest in the future of our school district that my son will grow up in.

What qualifies me to be a school board member is I exceed in making sound long term decisions. Networking and knowing community members is also a strong suit of mine.

The overall goal is to create a healthy and safe learning space for children to reach their full potential. I will strive to continue these practices and look forward to work as a team with the other board members to push ISD 118 into the future of learning. Kevin Olson

My motivation for running for school board is my 2 daughters that attend Remer school and their peers as well as being involved in our community. I feel as a parent its our job to make sure our kids and their friends have a safe and fun learning environment. We need to be there for all students and staff and help lead them in a healthy direction to prepare them for life. Giving them a chance to flourish after school no matter what they choose for school or career. I know now with COVID-19 things are difficult for staff and Board members and I look forward to being there to help guide our kids into the future.

James Dahl

My motivation to participate as a school board member is driven by the lack of foresight by the existing board. Having followed their decision making process' relating to several major problems over the past five years has prioritized the need for persons who are willing to introduce new thoughts and process' which do not maintain the low expectation levels of past and present boards.

I have been elected to public offices and throughly understand all the mandated protocols and procedures needed to fulfill the position. I have additionally been appointed to many City and County boards and commissions responsible for planning and development. I am a highly skilled negotiator and administrator who is not afraid of having one foot out of the box seeking alternatives while keeping grounded in the past.

Without a doubt, my goal for the District is to dramatically enhance the quality of education available to each and every existing and future student by making available numerous educational alternative choices for each student in order that each individual's dreams and goals can be achieved without sacrificing their individual heritage.


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