Six residents of Illini Central School District #189 are running for the opportunity to serve the district as school board members, with elections to be held April 7. Three sitting members are running to keep their seats and three newcomers have thrown a hat in the ring. There are four seats open.
School board terms are for four years. Member seats are “at large,” meaning each member represents the entire district. Seats held by Angela McGinnis, May Brooks, and David Leggans are not up for election this cycle. Board Member Lori Worner has chosen to step down at the end of the current term.
All six candidates sat for a “Meet the Candidates” event March 16 at the IC Grade School Library. The evening was organized by the Illini Central Education Association and moderated by ICEA member Kristi Johnson. Each candidate was allowed two minutes for an opening statement, after which they answered questions posed by the moderator. This was a timed event without debate. Candidates didn’t address each other or respond to audience questions.
The candidates expressed many common ideas, including the need for fiscal responsibility and maintaining the facilities, providing an optimal learning experience for students, keeping qualified teachers, and guarding against the possibility of the district being consolidated away from Mason City in the future. Here is a brief fact sheet on each candidate:Jay Douglas: • Residence: Mason City native, moved back in 2004. • Link to District: IC graduate with two children currently enrolled in the district. • Occupation: Farmer. • Listed Strengths: Business acumen, financial background, accustomed to working with others to find solutions. • Priorities if Elected: Maintain academic standards, support a strong financial position, improve the district’s relationship with the community. John Giesler: • Residence: Mason City resident since 1999. • Link to District: IC teacher/coach between 2000-2014. • Occupation: Tavern owner, retired teacher. • Listed Strengths: Educational background, business experience, has held leadership positions. • Priorities if Elected: To be here for the kids, make good financial decisions, improve lines of communication. Brian Hughes: • Residence: San Jose, 10 years. • Link to District: IC graduate with three children enrolled in district. Currently completing second term on school board. • Occupation: Agronomist • Listed Strengths: Listens to all sides, decision making skills, working with others. • Priorities if Elected: Strive for 100% graduation rate, hire and retain good teachers, spend money wisely. Karen Miller: • Residence: Mason City resident for 41 years. • Link to District: Children graduated this district, 3 grandchildren currently enrolled. Husband taught here for 29 years. Miller is finishing her third term on the school board, currently serving as vice president. • Occupation: Teacher, retired. • Listed Strengths: Teaching experience, volunteer experience, board experience, communication. • Priorities if Elected: Best possible educational system to prepare kids for life, more duel credit classes, maintain district finances. Ron Moehring: • Residence: Lifelong resident of San Jose. • Link to District: San Jose graduate, children graduated from district, three grandkids currently enrolled at IC. Long service as IC board member, currently serving as board president. • Occupation: Farmer, farm equipment salesman. • Listed Strengths: Board experience working with many administrators and teachers, financially conservative, always willing to listen and move forward. • Priorities if Elected: Help students achieve at highest level, keep district financially sound, maintain facilities. Kent Renken: • Residence: Mason City since age three. • Link to District: IC graduate with two kids currently enrolled. • Occupation: Auto Part Sales • Listed Strengths: Business acumen, forward-looking vision, athletic experience. • Priorities: Keep kids in school, support teachers, encouraging family-like atmosphere, reestablish sports programs.