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Two vacancies highlight school board election

October 10, 2019
CJ Eilers - Editor ( , Traer Star-Clipper

The North Tama Board of Education election will be held in conjunction with the local city council election on November 5 as two seats are vacant for the school board this year.

In District 3 located in city limits, Haley Blaine runs unopposed for the school board seat after incumbent Mona Larsen announced she will not seek another term. Blaine, the Deputy City Clerk of Traer, has lived in town for 10 years with her husband Duane and raised two children-Brityn and Hayes-together in Traer. Both children attend North Tama.

"This city has become very near and dear to my heart," Blaine said. "Something in my heart also told me it was my time to run for election. I learned the seat in my district was available, so I felt this was the best time for me to join the school board. Both my kids are just starting their Redhawk careers, so I wanted to become involved now and see their education is as good as it can be."

Article Photos

From top left clockwise: Haley Blaine will run unopposed for North Tama’s District 3, while David Boldt, Rebecca Dostal and Amber Monat will will run for District 7. The Traer Star-Clipper will feature additional coverage of the race closer to November 5 election

If elected, Blaine wants to be a "new set of eyes" for the school board and continue to promote North Tama as an independent school district. Blaine is a Gladbrook-Reinbeck alumni and does not wish to see the situation with the 2016 vote to close the district come to Traer.

"I want to keep North Tama as strong as we can on our own and see the best is being down for every kid at North Tama," Blaine said. "I love the fact we have the school district in one town and can continue to thrive. I wish to see the best educators continue to come here, watch our athletics do well and see positive growth at North Tama for years to come."

Blaine believes her position with Traer and TMU has given her a positive mindset as she understands not everything will go according to plan for a school board.

"I feel working here at the City of Traer and TMU has given me the social skills & decision making needed to be successful as a board member," Blaine said. "We have monthly meetings at the City/TMU where we hear from residents about opinions/discussions, we have an annual budget to follow, etc. background in all these areas will be extremely helpful to me as a school board member."

Incumbents Valerie Bradley and Doug Dvorak will run for re-election in Districts 5 and 6 respectively unopposed. District 7, which encompasses a section of rural Traer, will see three candidates vying for the seat after Tiffany Feisel announced she would not run for re-election this year.

David Boldt is a lifelong resident of rural Traer and graduated from North Tama in 1993. Boldt currently works as a cattle buyer, runs Spanky and Sons Auction Company, and owns Spanky's Restaurant and Catering in Gladbrook with his wife Mandy. Boldt has two sons currently in the secondary and out for a variety of activities.

"One of my biggest things is 'if you don't go, you don't know' and that's the reason I'm running for school board," Boldt said. "I want to be more in the know of what's going on with the school and our kids."

Boldt has spoken with concerned parents about the current bus routes and hopes he can offer suggestions to improve the system while easing parents' minds. He has served on the Tama County Executive Fair Board as well as his kid's 4-H activities.

"With me being a business owner of an auction business and a restaurant, I know how to manage situations good or bad," Boldt said. "You get to know so many people being involved with the fair board and being in the business."

While Boldt does not have any specific areas he wishes to change as a member of the school board, hopes residents will get out to vote and support the school district in November.

"We've been able to stand on our own for many years," Boldt said. "We haven't had to seek outside help like Gladbrook-Reinbeck or Union. That makes North Tama great."

Rebecca Dostal, a Traer farmer and substitute teacher, has been living in Tama County since 2001 and subbing since her arrival. Dostal is a local 4-H leader, leader, a member of the Traer United Methodist Church, and served on the Tama County Farm Bureau board for the past 14 years where she served as county president.

"I have 2 boys who attend North Tama and want to see them and the school succeed," Dostal said. "I feel a small school should have the same benefits in education that any large school has that will allow our students to be successful in life."

While working as a sub at North Tama, Dostal states she's seen firsthand the work associates have put into the school and hopes she can represent them on the board to find funding to hire them full-time.

"Only working 4 days a week then having a different associate for those students is confusing to the kids," Dostal said. "They need consistency in the classroom because a lot of those students do not deal well with changes, which is why they may need the associate in the first place."

As a board member with Farm Bureau for the past 14 years, Dostal believes she understands the time commitment and procedures that must be followed and has "an inside knowledge of the school" to benefit her in decision-making regarding the school, its students and staff.

"I love the small school atmosphere and the one on one attention that the students can get," Dostal said. "I have subbed at bigger school districts and seen firsthand how students relate to each other and their teachers. That is why it is important to me to keep our school district viable. With our community being small, the school board is made up of people that we all know and think of as family. I want to continue that relationship to work in the best interest of our school."

Amber Monat is a 2002 graduate of North Tama and previously served in the Iowa Army National Guard for nine years. Monat is a stay-at-home mom to six children, five of whom are attending North Tama in Pre-K through high school.

"Tiffany Feisel is my neighbor and she had approached me asking if I would be interested in running for school board," Monat said. "All six of my kids will attend North Tama and I'd like to help by being a member of the school board. I'm currently on the preschool board and have been to several school board meetings. I'm interested in learning more."

Monat has recently subbed at the school and talked with teachers aides and paraeducators. If elected to the school board, Monat hopes to advocate for more hours and pay for these part-time positions.

"I want to ensure our kids are getting the best education," Monat said. "As a smaller community, we are sometimes a few steps behind bigger districts. Just because we're a small town doesn't mean we can't offer the same opportunities."

If elected to the board, Monat hopes to be a "good representative" for her District by listening to people's concerns. Although she feels new to education, Monat states she's "ready to learn" as a member of the school board.



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