School Board Candidate Forum
North Polk residents are approaching an election where three of our five school board seats will be on the November 2 ballot. It is important that our community members are informed of the election process and prepared to cast their ballots.
Community members have 2 options to attend “Meet the Candidate” forums.
The Elkhart Betterment Committee will host the candidates on Thursday, October 14th at 6:30pm at the Elkhart Community Center. Due to limited capacity, the event will be streamed via Facebook Live through the City of Elkhart-Government page.
The Go Polk City Chamber + Economic Development will host the candidates on **DATE CHANGE** Monday, November 1 at 6pm in the Luana Savings Bank Community Room at 6:00 p.m.
School Board Candidate Profiles
The North Polk Board of Education has three seats open for election on November 2, 2021.
School board members are elected to serve four-year terms.
The following are profiles of each candidate for school board. The candidates' own statements are listed below, they have been minimally edited. The profiles appear in alphabetical order.
My name is Matt Aicher. My wife Nicole and I have lived in Polk City for 10 years. Our daughter Cora is in third grade and our son Callan is in first grade at West Elementary. Both of our children love being active and are involved in local sports and activities.
I have worked in law enforcement for 13.5 years. For the last 11 years, I have been a Police Officer with the City of Polk City with the current assignment of K9 Handler. I am also the president of the Polk City Police Officer's Association, a non-profit 501c3 organization. I have assisted in raising tens of thousands of dollars for our organization which gives back to our community. I have managed the PCPOA Scholarship Program and facilitated multiple donations to community organizations over the last two years.
My career allows me the privilege to assist, interact and listen to people from all walks of life. I take pride in treating everyone fairly and impartially. I have studied and trained in implicit bias and de-escalation. I also have a vast knowledge of labor relations and union negotiations.
I understand and accept the challenges that lie ahead for our district. One challenge is our growth. As housing development continues throughout our school district, growth is inevitable. I believe that our growth management needs to be district-wide. Citizens, parents, district stakeholders, and community leaders from every town/township across the district need to come together as one, for the common goal. The common goal of handling the growth responsibly, keeping the small-town feel, while ensuring that each student receives top-tier education.
I believe my experience, knowledge, and dedication to our community and school, make me an asset that will contribute to the future of the North Polk School District.
For more information on Matt, go to his Facebook page at https://www.facebook.
com/mattaicher4NPSchoolBoard or by email at email@example.com
Remember when the Iowa State Fair planned to cancel the 2021 Avenue of Breeds? North Polk’s FFA has managed the Avenue of Breeds since the early 1980s. As president of the North Polk FFA Alumni, I stood up for our school.
I met the fair’s objections about a lack of money with practical solutions. The fair’s leaders agreed to have a large tent for the Avenue of Breeds, where 2021 fairgoers could see livestock up close. North Polk students will lead this unique learning experience again next year.
Strong leadership is essential for our school district. “Don’t be afraid of change, but don’t change due to being afraid” resonates with me. Vote for me if you value a leader who is:
- Experienced. I grew up in rural Elkhart. After graduating from North Polk High School (NPHS) in 1990, I worked for local farmers and attended Iowa State University. I’m the lead sales/service agronomist for MaxAg in Maxwell and am grateful to live and work in the area where I grew up.
- Dedicated. My wife, Michelle, and I have three children: Sydney, a 2021 NPHS graduate; Tucker, 10th grade; and Beckett, 6th grade. Our kids are involved in sports, music and many other activities. I’m the president of the Elkhart Christian Church board and a Polk County Cattlemen’s Association member.
- Driven. A growing population creates opportunities for North Polk’s students, teachers and administrators. I’ll represent the eastern side of the district and will listen to the needs of people throughout the district. I’ll defend your rights and help students maximize their education here. Together, we can foster a close-knit community. No one fights alone. This is true, whether a local student is battling cancer, or we’re working together to help North Polk reach its tremendous potential.
Thanks for your support.
For more information contact Perry by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
My family has been part of the North Polk District for the last ten years and I’ve had the honor to serve on the North Polk School Board for the last four. During my time I’ve learned a considerable amount about the operation of the district, such as school finance, educational requirements, overall district operation, and how critical every role within the district is to our success. Paring my professional background of engineering and procurement with another term would allow me to leverage my learning and relationships with immediate impact for the North Polk District.
With another term, I’d continue to push the daily conversation back to our goals for our students and what the District and Board can do to support them. By continuously listening to and improving our partnership with our teachers, we can maintain the amazing staff we have and attract the new ones that we need as a growing district. Through disciplined and data based analysis, continue the master planning activities that have been underway and responsibly grow our district footprint to provide the best learning environment for our students and staff as possible. Finally, continuing the fiscally responsible management of the district to allow us to make investments in people, curriculum, or technology when needed.
The last 18 months have presented the District with considerable challenges but we were able to focus on the learning of our students due to the amazing support of our staff, families, and community as a whole. What we were able to collectively accomplish and are still doing today is amazing. I’m excited for the potential to continue this journey with the North Polk community and will do my very best to listen, continue to have great conversations, and always keep our students at the heart of the discussion.
For more information contact Keith by email at email@example.com
My name is Jordan Daggett. I am 38 and father of 3 in the school district (14 yrs., 12 yrs., 10 yrs.) I graduated College from the University of Northwestern, St. Paul and professionally I am an Industrial Engineer. My wife and I moved into the district over a year ago because we desired to see our kids go to a smaller school where they can learn and grow in a small community. We wanted them to develop relationships with other children, teachers, and coaches that they would see year after year rather than be lost in class of 400-500 students. The North Polk community has been far better than anything we could have asked or thought.
My goal in running is to continue to see NP students grow and flourish in this school district. Like most parents I care deeply to see my kids, and the students at North Polk, flourish academically, athletically, artistically but most importantly in their character and development of virtue.
I want to address two topics that seem to be at the forefront of everyone’s minds so that in the most honest and upfront manner you know where I stand on masks/vaccinations and Critical Theory.
First, I will not support mask mandates. The health decisions for kids, which includes mask wearing and vaccinations, stays with parents. I want to do what I can to preserve this parent-child autonomy.
Second, I will not support any Critical Theory curriculum in the school. CT is subtle and pervasive, and it's not just race that is affected by this ideology.
Third, I want to support our Teachers and especially our students with special needs.
Fourth, NP is growing, and I desire to see building projects move forward that are fiscally responsible, logistically sensible, and help bring the community together.
For more information contact Jordan by email at JDaggett@gmail.com
Dennis Goering has been a resident of the North Polk District for over twenty years, with a family that is fully invested. Dennis’ wife, Julie is a 2nd Grade Teacher at West for the past six years and has been teaching for nineteen. Their son, Rees is a Freshman at North Polk, he is active in band, football, basketball, soccer and 4-H. Dennis comes from a background of educators including his own mother, father and grandmother. This background assured intimate knowledge of the educational system and the demands to keep standards at the utmost level.
Beyond Dennis’ personal qualifications; as an entrepreneur for over 30 years,
Dennis is a fiscal conservative that is experienced in leadership. Not unlike the rapid growth of North Polk, Dennis has experience managing budgets and investments. He has built successful startups, and learned from his failures, he continues to navigate the difficult path of a small business owner in this environment.
Dennis has spent many years in elected board positions, He is in his third term on the Polk County Extension Council for Polk County Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. He currently serves as Chairman for the council. In addition to the Extension Council he served seven years on the Iowa 4-H Foundation, its Chairman in 2008-09. He is passionate about giving back to the community and responsibly leading organizations. With this non-profit organization experience, Dennis brings a unique perspective of Tax Funding, budgeting and priorities for investment.
Dennis’ vision for the district includes providing leadership with a high level roadmap, expanding the board seats to seven, which represents the diverse communities with director districts, and managing the inevitable issues that come with rapid expansion.
A vote for Dennis is a vote for family values, continued fiscal responsibility and the growth of the district.
For more information contact Dennis by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
My name is James Hill, and I am running for re-election to the North Polk School Board. I am a North Polk grad and have worked in public education for sixteen years. Prior to my time on the board, I served on the Polk City Planning and Zoning Commission. I was also a volunteer High School baseball coach at North Polk. I initially ran for board because I personally benefited from the culture of NP, I wanted to do what I could to try to retain some of that culture during our growth.
Since joining the board in 2017, my first project was exploring an athletic coach training program with the former AD. 3-D coaching trains coaches on how to get the best out of student-athletes beyond the fundamentals. In my second year, I took the lead on exploring improvements to our special education department. We hired a consultant to independently evaluate the strengths and needs for improvement within the program. The report we were provided is used as a tool to initiate best practices.
I have also been one of the two board members responsible for negotiations with the NP Education Association. A priority the last four years has been finding ways to make our salary structure more competitive with our neighbors while also continuing to be fiscally responsible.
If elected to a final term, my goal will be to continue to work on our 5-10 year plan and explore improvements to curriculum and extracurriculars that set our students up for success beyond North Polk. I believe with everything the district is facing, my background and experience gives me a unique perspective and voice on the board to accomplish these goals. A school’s culture determines its success, I will evaluate every decision with that mindset.
For more information on James go to his Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/hill4npschools or email email@example.com
My name is Corey Hoodjer, and I consider it my honor to be included as a candidate for the North Polk School Boards. I have been a resident of Polk City for the past 13 years and, like many of you, have witnessed the tremendous growth of our wonderful community and School District. We are all privileged to be residents of such a dynamic, inviting and supportive community of people. I look forward to the opportunity to serve the voters in our District as a member of the School Board.
I am a current member, and former President, of the Polk City Library Board. I served as an assistant basketball coach for the North Polk Community Schools last year and presently serve as a steering committee member for the Polk City Community Visioning Project. My wife Sarah is a past President of the Polk City Women’s Group. We have a son, Jackson, who is a second-grader at West Elementary.
I was born in raised in Greene, Iowa, and have bachelor’s degrees in history and political science from Luther College. I have completed coursework for my Master’s degree in athletic administration at Iowa State University. My full-time job is at Wellmark Blue Cross & Blue Shield in Des Moines where I have been employed for nearly 10 years.
I would also like to take the opportunity to provide a brief overview of my positions and approach to this candidacy. Clearly, there are a variety of specific issues this School Board faces, but below are a few of the general statements I would like to make to the voters in this District and the core tenets I hold:
- Access to all
- Support for our teachers and administrators
- Fostering open dialogue and respectful discussions
- Balanced, studious approach
For more information contact Corey by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
My name is Scot Knock, born and raised in Cedar Rapids, graduated from Iowa State University in 2004 with a bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies. Worked for 6 seasons as Assistant Director of Operations for Iowa State University Football under former coach Dan McCarney. Currently a Local Sales Manager and Senior Account Executive for iHeartMedia, representing 6 local radio stations in the greater Des Moines area.
My wife Ashley and I and our three children live in the Northgate community in North Ankeny, an extremely fast-growing part of the North Polk school district. My daughter Avery (8) is a 3rd grader at Central Elementary, my son Jaxsen (6) just started Kindergarten at West Elementary, and I’ve been able to see firsthand the benefits of being a COMET! We look forward to the day our daughter Charli (1) will begin her journey as a COMET!
One of my key priorities in running for school board is equal representation. Representation from the many communities that make up the North Polk School District, representation for the many activities our children get to be a part of and representation for all the great families in our community. I look forward to meeting many of you throughout this journey and hearing your goals, dreams, and aspirations for the school district as we continue a fast trend of growth. It is your views and visions that are important to me as an elected member of the school board and sharing those views and visions will be the most important thing you can do to help me!
For more information contact Scot by email at email@example.com
My name is Cassie Kozelka. My husband, Kurt and I have two kids James and Elle. James is a game loving third grader who also enjoys cub scouts and will be involved in Girls on the Run this year. Elle is a proud dancer at ACAA and is thrilled to be in kindergarten.
Growing up my father was a hard-working man who ran a business and served on different boards in the community. Seeing his hard work and dedication has instilled in me a passion for community involvement. I love problem solving and doing my best to make people happy. I understand that not every decision will make everyone happy and because of this I excel at compromising and tough decision making. At the end of the day, as a school board member I will strive to put kids first and make decisions that will create community, inclusion, and opportunities for our kids.
When I see a need for change or improvement I always try to help where I can. Since moving here, I have been a member of the PTA and The Polk City Women. I put together a Little Free Inclusive Library that provides free books that are inclusive to all races, religions, abilities, and the LGBTQIA community. I organized and presented a petition to the city council requesting a pool in town and finally, I organized a very successful wine and dash group during Covid to bring some joy to the community.
Should I be elected, I look forward to providing a fresh feminine perspective and being a strong voice to advocate for our children. Thank you so much for your time and consideration.
For more information contact Cassie by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
My name is Benjamin Nerem and I am asking for your vote and support for the upcoming School Board Election on Nov.2nd.
My wife, Britnie, and I currently live in Elkhart with our 3 kids Averee, Jameson, and Eleanor. We have been a proud sponsor of North Polk Athletics since we moved into the district. We love our community, school, and teachers. I want to see it continue to grow in the right direction. This past year has shown us the ever-changing landscape of our school district. One of the greatest strengths our district has, is the co-op of all the towns coming together witha common goal. Which can only happen if we have the right people in place to best represent all the communities big or small. With the expansion of the district constantly occurring, I want to make sure our schools have the tools and resources to accommodate this growth. I believe I will be able to halp achieve this goal with the experience I have gained with the same obstacles faced in our own expansion in our business. Together, with one common goal, we can continue making North Polk the staple of an effecient School District.
I ask for your Vote, Support, and most importantly, your Trust in the upcoming election.
For more information contact Ben at email@example.com
My name is Jim Woosley and I felt an urgency to take an active role in the future of North Polk Schools. My wife and I are blessed with three sons in 9th, 7th and 4th grades and moved into the area 10 years ago. I have a double degree in Economics and Ag Business. We have farmed in Polk County and our boys are active in sports & 4H.
- Learning for all by learning from all. I will do my part as a parent & encourage other parents to support the teachers, staff and academics.
- In really listening. I will take the time to hear your thoughts and ask questions to try and understand your point of view. Prayer, data and the majority feedback will guide my decisions.
- In the law. I will follow the rules, principles and processes that have served us. I will understand the grey in order to provide a clear and concise decision. I will be consistent.
My goals once elected:
I will not support unneeded spending that make us dependent on government experimental programs. There must be a favorable return for the community.
I believe that through parent choice of masking, in person learning is the best way to honor what we “commit to create”. As parents we need to be vigilant and take the steps necessary for our children and our communities’ safety.
We will be a district that is a light to those around us; a strong dynamic community where our children and our children’s children want to be raised up. We will ring the bell when we win, sing the Star-Spangled Banner (and Comet Fight song) together; and withstand the elements and trials like the great rock at the stadium - because we are all Comets!
For more information contact Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org