Two new faces vying for DL School Board
There are four candidates and only three openings for the Detroit Lakes School Board election coming up in November.
Open seats for the four-year terms include those now held by Ladd Lyngaas, Tom Seaworth and Tom Klyve. Lyngaas and Seaworth are running again for their seats, while two new candidates are also throwing their names in.
So who are these four candidates vying for a position critical in determining the future of education for Detroit Lakes students?
Seaworth is chairman of the Detroit Lakes School board, and has been on and off throughout his 16 years on the board. He says he joined the school board as a way to give back to the community.
"Education is the key to better communication and often times it's the key to better jobs, but probably most importantly I think it gives us the basics that we need to make a better community for our children and grandchildren," said Seaworth.
A family medicine physician at Sanford Health in Detroit Lakes, Seaworth has been a champion for making healthy strides within the schools, with a believe that healthy bodies help produce healthy minds and increased learning. He says he's also proud of the fact that he and his fellow board members have been able to not only get through the hard economy, but do well through it.
"We have facilities that are almost paid off and an administration and teaching staff that are doing innovative things at difficult times," said Seaworth, who says the district has stayed strong even as state funding has gotten more difficult to obtain.
Seaworth says he's looking forward not to addressing the district's "good problem" of space issues and increasing enrollment.
"I want to help the district as it gets the community involved in choosing what they want for the school district and to sell it to voters to accomplish what we need to in order to do what's best for our kids," said Seaworth, who lives in the Floyd Lake area with his wife, Mary, who is a substitute teacher. They have four grown children, all graduates of Detroit Lakes High School.
Another incumbent, Lyngaas has been on the school board for two years, appointed by the board in November of 2010 when then school board member Barb Boyle left the position.
Although he is currently the president of Wells Fargo Bank in Detroit Lakes, Lyngaas says he almost didn't go down that road.
"My grandma was a teacher in a one-room school house, and I was always interested in hearing her stories from the 1930's -- she taught us to be lifelong learners," said Lyngaas, who says he started to take some education classes in college, but ultimately, finance won out. Now, he brings his financial expertise to the board.
"We're kind of at the mercy of the state in terms of funding, so that makes it that much more important to be good stewards of tax payers' money," said Lyngaas, who is originally from Campbell, Minn., but has lived in Detroit Lakes for the past 16 years.
There are three issues Lyngaas says are big priorities in his eyes -- the upcoming building project to address space issues, providing teachers the support and resources they need to strengthen their professional learning community and keeping up on technology.
"Kids learn in a different way than we did or even than they did five years ago, and so we started with the iPad program, which I think the initial response has been very positive...I'd like to see that program expanded and technology in general," said Lyngaas, who is also a member of Breakfast Rotary, the Booster Club board and the Chamber of Commerce.
Lyngaas lives in Detroit Lakes with his wife, Denise, and three of their children -- a junior, a sophomore and an eighth grader. He also has a stepson that graduated from Detroit Lakes High School in 2008.
Jackie Buboltz says if she's elected, she won't be coming onto the board with agendas, just the desire to help ensure the Detroit Lakes School District continues on a successful path.
Buboltz works for Essentia Health, providing staff and leadership training to non-clinical employees throughout the region.
Born and raised in Detroit Lakes, she and her husband, Mitch, moved back to the area in 1995, during which time she has served on several boards for local organizations. A member of the Damien Society and the personal committee at First Lutheran Church, Buoltz believes her involvement in community boards would help her as a school board member.
"I feel like it'll be helpful in working with all the different perspectives that a board has to consider...from the students themselves being the most important, but looking financially at what can we do, regulatory...what can we do," said Buboltz. "And teachers are a big part of that equation and giving them what they need -- so just to balance all of the needs and wants."
And with an 11-year old daughter and 14-year-old son in the school district, she says she has a vested interest in the success of the schools.
"And knowing that I'm more than likely going to remain here the rest of my life, continued success is important -- it provides such a foundation for the entire community to be successful," said Buboltz, who also believes it is important to give back to the community.
Now, she says she's excited about the upcoming construction project, and compliments school leaders for positioning the schools for success and hopes she'll soon be part of on-going success.
Daniel El-Dweek is a defense attorney who is hoping he'll soon be arguing for a successful Detroit Lakes school system.
El-Dweek says he's motivated by is concern for the preparedness of local high school seniors in particular.
"I feel our district is giving our students a great opportunity to earn college credits while in high school," said El-Dweek, "but I am also hoping that those who do not take advantage of that program are also prepared to write at a college level. I also want to ensure that every student has some options on a post-secondary level, whether that be a technical, community, career or 4-year college."
El-Dweek, who has lived in Detroit Lakes since 2010, is a criminal defense attorney working as the alternative to the public defender for enrolled members of the White Earth and Leech Lake band. A St. Paul native, El-Dweek also lived in Buffalo County, South Dakota, where he worked as a legal aid attorney in one of the poorest counties in the nation. El-Dweek says that while he is aware of the space issues in Detroit Lakes, he is against building a new high school.
"I believe that our tax burden is too high, and as revenue pictures statewide are unclear for the future, property owners may be asked to pony up additional money for the other taxing authorities. I don't want the school district portion to unduly burden our citizens," said El-Dweek, adding that he would, however, be open to a new
elementary school or other options.
El-Dweek also believes that school athletics are sometimes overemphasized and students in other extracurricular activities are overlooked.
"I noticed that there was a Hall of Fame for our successful student athletes, but there also needs to be recognition of alums who may have contributed to their society in other ways other than athletics," said El-Dweek. "There needs to be encouragement of our music programs, speech, drama and other extracurricular activities that are on-par with our sports teams."
El-Dweek is engaged to his fiancé, Amanda Becker, of Grand Forks.