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School, college board candidates file for Nov. 2 election

Dr. Alan Heisterkamp

Heisterkamp

CEDAR FALLS — Cedar Falls Community Schools' voters will have plenty of choice in the Nov. 2 Board of Education election after six candidates filed for three seats.

Two incumbents are running along with four newcomers. Seats on the board are elected at-large, meaning all voters in the district can cast ballots for the positions.

Three seats will also be on the ballot for Waterloo Community Schools' Board of Education, but only one is contested. An at-large seat where the incumbent chose not to run for another term has two people vying to fill it.

One of five seats up for election on the Hawkeye Community College Board of Trustees is contested. Initially, two of the positions had two candidates, but one of them dropped out Monday, according to HCC officials. No incumbents are running for another term.

Multiple candidates will also be seeking the same seats on four other school boards across the Cedar Valley in the Denver, Dike-New Hartford, Hudson and Janesville districts. In addition, the Union and Jesup community schools' boards both have one less candidate than seats. 

Cedar Falls Schools

Three candidates filed for the board Thursday, joining three others, as previously reported by The Courier.

They include Lowell Stutzman, 528 Chateau Court; R.J. Meyer, 613 Fireside Drive; and T.W. Ingham, 1601 W. 19th St. Those who filed earlier included Jeff Orvis, 3407 Veralta Drive; H. Alan Heisterkamp, 1215 Amelia Drive, No. 1; and Brenda Fite, 1716 Campus St. Orvis and Heisterkamp are incumbents; currently, the third seat on the ballot is filled by a board appointee who didn't plan to run in the election.

Stutzman, 35, is a product development engineer at John Deere with a masters of business administration degree. "I believe I will bring a fresh and unique perspective," he said. As the district looks at continued growth, one of the areas he can bring knowledge to the board is "in the whole planning and fiscal discipline area."

He praised the legacy of the district and said he wants be a voice for the already "great reputation" it has in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics field. He added that quality education is a "healthy foundation for a community."

"On the school board, I would be a fair and balanced voice and would listen to all sides before reaching any decisions or conclusions," said Stutzman.

Ingham, 28, is the finance manager at Bill Colwell Ford in Hudson who decided to run as a way to get more involved with the community. With a degree in psychology, he has also worked in juvenile corrections and as a social worker.

"The biggest three things I'm concerned with are safety, equality and fairness," he said. With COVID-19 still an issue, Ingham wants to make sure "we do what's best for the students and the school as a whole." 

Providing equality and fairness in the school setting, he suggested, will ensure students are not distracted from their purpose for being there. "I want no person or student treated differently," said Ingham.

Meyer could not be reached for comment.

Orvis, 61, is a teacher and instructional coach for Waverly-Shell Rock Community Schools. Heisterkamp, 59, is director of the University of Northern Iowa Center for Violence Prevention. Fite, 52, is consultant in the software development field.

Waterloo Schools

Waterloo residents Martie Heath-Sinclair, 2015 Tilbury Road, and Janelle Ewing, 715 Wildwood Road, are vying for the open at-large seat on the board currently held by Shanlee McNally. As previously reported, candidates for the other two seats include incumbents Astor Williams for Director District 1 and Endya Johnson for District 4.

"I'm interested in being on the school board because I think our schools, our students and our teachers need a strong advocate," said Heath-Sinclair.

The 59-year-old associate professor in natural sciences at Hawkeye Community College has nearly 30 years in secondary and post-secondary education, including a year teaching in Waterloo Schools. She believes arts programs are "not truly funded the way they should be and supported and recognized in Waterloo Schools."

Heath-Sinclair added, "I want to be a positive change for our district. There's so many things going on. To move this district forward into the way education is changing, they need a positive force and not someone who is going to resist change."

Ewing, 44, is an attorney in Waterloo who started out as an educator. "I am a former teacher. I taught for seven years and then went to law school," she said. "I have been practicing law since 2011, but I am concerned about the state of the facilities, of the schools.

"I want to check into that, because I know the teachers love to teach but it's very hard to capture students' attention if there are distractions such as the problems in our buildings," said Ewing. She mentioned the roof collapse in 2019 at the former Lowell Elementary School, which is now being rebuilt as students learn in another facility.

In addition, she said, "the lack of air conditioning in a lot of our schools keeps students from learning." Ewing also mentioned "inadequate facilities for arts and music."

Hawkeye Community College

Christine Twait, 111 Usher Road, Hudson, and the Rev. Gerald Kapanka, 854 Maucker Road, Cedar Falls, are seeking the board's Director District 7 seat. That position represents portions of Cedar Falls, rural Waterloo and the city of Hudson.

Both Bridget Saffold, of 11125 Newton St., Waterloo, and Krystal Madlock filed for the Director District 5 seat, but Madlock withdrew her candidacy. Other candidates are Louis Beck, 14124 Beck Road, Buckingham, for the District 3 seat; Dr. Merritt Jones, 434 Third St., Jesup, for the District 4 seat; and JoDee Knox, 808 Washington St., Cedar Falls, for the District 9 seat.

Twait, 51, has been medically retired from the University of Northern Iowa since 2015 because of an autoimmune disorder. She was the assistant provost for research and sponsored programs at UNI.

She worked with Hawkeye on several partnerships over the years and "was always very impressed with the organization." In addition, she learned a lot about the struggles of community colleges from classmates who worked at them while earning her doctorate in higher education administration. Twait has served on several statewide appointed boards, including three years on the workforce development board.

"I just bring a real broad range of knowledge and experience to it," she said. "I just am passionate about higher education and serving the needs of Iowans. ... I think I have a lot to offer the position."

Dozens protested Monday morning outside of the Cedar Falls Community Schools administration building over concerns with a temporary mask mandate put in place this week.

Kapanka, 59, is pastor of Immanuel Lutheran in Cedar Falls and "a huge supporter of the community colleges." He attended a community college in Michigan before heading to seminary. "Three of my children have attended Hawkeye and my wife works out there," he said, as director of the medical technology program.

"I'm not running because of an issue that I'm pushing," said Kapanka. "I'm not there as an advocate for a particular position, but just to serve the community. I have some ideas on things that I'd like to continue to watch Hawkeye expand, but not on a particular one issue." 

Other districts

One incumbent and two other people are candidates for two positions on the Denver board. Scott Krebsbach is running for another term. He is joined by Aaron Leuders and Ryan Wirtjes. Current board member Ryan Sheridan did not file to run.

Two of three incumbents are not running for another term on the Dike-New Hartford board, which has a contested race for one seat. Jenny Connolly and Ryan Peterson are vying for the Director District 3 seat, where incumbent Ben Freese is not seeking another term. Brett Badker is running for the District 1 seat, to replace incumbent Ashlee Tott, and incumbent Christa Lotts is running for an at-large seat.

Four people are running for three seats on the Hudson board, two of them for another term. They include incumbents Matt Sallee and Brenda Klenk plus newcomers Amy Thole and Shannon Ingamells. Incumbent Traci Trunck didn't file for another term. 

Three people are seeking two seats on the Janesville board, one of them an incumbent. Current board member Tracy Meyer is one of them along with Kim Gienau and Scott Kipp. Incumbent Lindsey Eibey isn't running again.

In Waverly-Shell Rock, Charlene Wyatt Sauer is running for the Director District 1 seat and Jessica Kettleson is running for the District 4 position. They will replace incumbents Corrie Ramige and Kerri VanEe.

In Dunkerton, incumbents Chad Wolfensperger, Lyle McIntosh and Dan Knebel are running again for their Director District 2, 3 and 4 seats, respectively. 

Christopher Jung and Dana Miller are candidates for three open seats on the Jesup board after Amy Bucknell, Lisa Riensche and Dustin Thorson didn't file for another term.

At Union Schools, Maureen Hanson is running for the Director District 2 seat and Lindsay Pipho is running for an at-large position on the board. No one has filed for the District 1 seat. The incumbents, who didn't file for another term, are Kevin Sash, Kristi Martin and Darrell DeWinter. 

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Education Reporter

I cover local schools and higher education for The Courier, where I’ve been a reporter for the past two decades. I’m a Minnesota native and have previously worked for newspapers there and in Illinois.

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