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New faces elected to Park Rapids and Nevis school boards

Longtime Park Rapids School Board member Dennis Dodge was voted out of office as polls closed Tuesday evening on elections for area school boards, including several contested races.

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Voters in both Park Rapids precincts vote Tuesday morning at city hall.
Robin Fish / Enterprise
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Longtime Park Rapids School Board member Dennis Dodge was voted out of office as polls closed Tuesday evening on elections for area school boards, including several contested races.

Vote totals, based on the Minnesota Secretary of State’s website, are unofficial pending certification of election results.

Park Rapids

Four candidates ran for three seats on the Park Rapids School Board, with current board member Stephanie Carlson retiring.

Andrea Morgan took 3,333 votes, Colter Diekmann 3,083 and incumbent Clayton Hoyt 2,996 to win their seats. Dodge came in last place with 2,845 votes.

“The people of District 309 have spoken, and they were looking for a change, I guess,” Dodge commented. “I really want to congratulate all three that have won to be on the school board, especially the two new ones. I’d like to pray that God gives them the wisdom to choose the right decisions.

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“It’s been a long time that I’ve been on the board, and I really appreciate the confidence of all the people that have supported me over the years and given me the opportunity to work with the kids and give them a safe and great-quality education.”

Morgan said, “I’m pretty excited. I’ve been wanting to put my name in for several years.”

Noting that she had to “get something off my plate” before running, due to her involvement in multiple booster clubs, she said her hope is to make a difference in kids’ lives and she is excited to work with a school board whose members feel the same way.

“I’m sure I’m going to be a little intimidated,” said Morgan, “because it’s going to be a lot to learn. But I’m always excited to learn new things, and I’m ready to accept the challenge.”

Diekmann also expressed excitement to join the school board and appreciation for the community’s support and positive feedback.

“I wasn’t looking to unseat anybody,” he said. “I just wanted to maintain this quality board. I just want to keep going in the right direction.”

“I’m excited for the opportunity to continue to represent the citizens of Park Rapids in my seat on the school board,” said Hoyt. “I want to thank people for trusting me to continue on after eight years.

“It’s been very eye-opening yet rewarding at the same time, what transpires in everything involved in running the school district. I’m happy to be able to continue that.”

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Nevis

In a six-way race for three seats on the Nevis School Board, incumbent Andrew J. Lindow was re-elected with 964 votes.

“I was pleased to see people still think I can do a good job and want me on the board,” he said. “I’ve been on the board for 12 years and look forward to serving four more years.”

Jennifer McNamee and Aimee Plumley were newly elected with 596 and 664 votes, respectively.

“I’m excited to serve the school and the community,” McNamee said. “My background is in early childhood and early childhood. Safety is a big issue for me, so I’m interested in serving on the building or safety committee or on PAWN. I think one of the big goals for the school is to get down to smaller class sizes.”

Plumley said she is looking forward to working with fellow board members and the administration to continue to advocate for kids. She currently chairs the American Indian Parent Advisory Committee.

“I am grateful that people got out and voted,” she said. “I am all about teamwork and support and am happy to serve on whatever committee has a need.”

David McGee also received 352 votes, Marv Vredenburg 535, and Benjamin Haas 346, and there were 11 write-ins.

Tara Wolff also received 1,230 votes vs. 10 write-ins, running unopposed in a special election for a Nevis School Board vacancy expiring Jan. 6, 2025.

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Menahga

Four candidates also ran for three seats on the Menahga School Board. Andrea Haverinen was re-elected with 1,150 votes, Katie Howard with 1,113 and David Treinen 972. Dan Gaughan received 642 votes, and there were 36 write-ins.

Laporte

Elected to three seats on the Laporte School Board were Courtney Weber with 524 votes, Karl Beck with 445, Andrew Graham with 432. There were also 17 write-ins.

Joe Jorland was also elected to fill a Laporte School Board vacancy expiring Jan. 6, 2025, with 642 votes vs. 7 write-ins.

Cass Lake-Bena and W-H-A

In a five-way race for three seats on the Cass Lake-Bena School Board, winners were Terri Finn-Goggleye with 715 votes, Lenny Fineday with 598 votes and Jolyn (Holstein) Donnell with 592. Terry (Muller) Vail also received 541 votes, Lelia Northbird 458, and there were 29 write-ins.

In a ballot question requesting a $39,750,000 facility improvement bond, 631 voters (51.3%) said yes and 599 (48.7%) said no.

Elected in a five-way race for three seats on the Walker-Hackensack-Akeley School Board were Shannon Pfeiffer with 2,141 votes, Ben Jacobson with 1,955 and Keane Johnson with 1,485. Kimberley Gendron also took 1,400 votes, Samantha Bialozynski 1,156, and there were 32 write-ins.

Tristan Everhart was also elected with 2,912 votes vs. 34 write-ins to fill a W-H-A school board vacancy expiring Jan. 6, 2025.

MORE COVERAGE:
The Park Rapids School Board awarded the sale of a $25.74 million bond series on Feb. 6 to low bidder Baird of Milwaukee, Wis.

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