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Seaworth, Anderson, Boyle win seats on DL School Board

When it came time to elect three new members to the Detroit Lakes School Board on Tuesday, voters seemed to have one theme in mind: Experience counts.

Incumbent school board member Dr. Tom Seaworth was by far the highest vote-getter among the six candidates, receiving 4,538 votes, or 24 percent of all ballots cast. He will begin his third term in office in January.

Seaworth is currently employed as a physician at MeritCare Clinic in Detroit Lakes. Attempts to reach him by telephone early this morning were unsuccessful.

Cyndi Anderson, who previously served on the school board for one term before stepping down temporarily in 2003, will have the opportunity to serve another term as well: she was the second highest vote-getter, with 4,270 (22 percent). She is the owner of her own business, Mosaic Consulting.

"I'm thrilled," Anderson said. "I'm grateful, and humbled that I've been given this opportunity. I look forward to serving on the school board again.

"It was also great to be a part of such a wonderful slate of candidates," she added. "It was a strong group. And it was definitely an incredible turnout of voters...inspiring, really."

Anderson said she was looking forward to being "part of a team" that would shape the school district's future over the course of the next several years.

Board newcomer Barbara Boyle, who currently serves as manager of the Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge, rounded out the trio, receiving 3,071 (16 percent) votes. She will begin serving her first term on the board in January.

"I was not surprised that Tom Seaworth and Cyndi Anderson did so well," Boyle said. "They have a long history with the community and a great deal of experience.

"The closeness of the last four candidates (in vote totals) just shows how qualified and committed everyone was. It was a great slate of candidates running.

"It was not an issue driven election -- everyone had the same interest at heart which was the community, and the kids. I believe very strongly that the schools are the nucleus of the community, and I think all of these candidates supported that philosophy as well."

Boyle said one of her priorities on the board would be to work on improving communications between the school district and the community.

"One of the things I've learned through running for school board is that people need to think they have access to their board members, so they can voice their opinions and concerns. Personally, I think the board members we've had have always been very approachable, but we can always continue to improve."

Boyle also sees reform of the federal "No Child Left Behind" law as one of the top priorities for schools across the nation.

"It'll be interesting to see how No Child Left Behind is reformed, because that will impact schools nationwide," she added. "It is a punitive law, and that's not how you motivate people."

The three other candidates on the ballot, Dr. Jeff Leichter, Mike Bommersbach and Ladd Lyngaas, split the remaining votes pretty evenly between them, with Leichter receiving 2,517 (13 percent), 2,470 going to Lyngaas (13 percent), and 2,358 going to Bommersbach (12 percent).