School Board Candidate Forum
North Polk residents are approaching an election where three of our five school board seats will be on the November 5 ballot. It is important that our community members are informed of the election process and prepared to cast their ballots.
Community members are invited to attend a “Meet the Candidate” forum hosted by the Polk City Chamber of Commerce and Economic Develop Corporation. The candidate forum will be held on Tuesday, October 29th in the Luana Savings Bank Community Room at 7:00 p.m.
School Board Candidate Profiles
The North Polk Board of Education has three seats open for election on November 5, 2019.
School board members are elected to serve four-year terms; however, one of North Polk’s openings is a shortened two-year term due to the resignation of a previously elected member. Candidates running to fill the seat for the shortened (two-year) term are current member David Potter and challengers Melissa Bauer and Maria Mattiace.
The other two seats are the standard four-year terms; candidates running to fill these seats are incumbent Joe Heintz and challengers Travis Davis and Chris Stotz.
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.
Occupation: Finance Manager
Background: I am originally from Slater and a graduate of Ballard. After graduation i got my bachelors in Accounting from Iowa State University and passed my CPA exam. I worked in public accounting for 4 years specializing in non-profit and student aid audit work. I married my husband Brian in 2006 and we moved to Polk City. Brian took a job at Co-op Financial in West Des Moines working in the IT department and I went to work for Pioneer Hi-bred International in Johnston in the Finance department.
In 2008 we were blessed with our daughter Isabella and I decided to go back to school. I graduated with my Masters in Business Administration from the University of Iowa in 2010. Our son Blake was born in 2012. He is now in 2nd Grade at West Elementary and our daughter just started Middle School. Both are active in church, sports, and clubs and when I'm not playing taxi driver or sitting at the ball field we can usually be found on the lake.
Involvement: I have been active in the PTA programs throughout my children's elementary careers. I started the pre-package school supplies program for North Polk and served as the committee chair at West for three years. I have been an assistant coach for the Comet Volleyball program for the past three years. I also assisted with the creation of the new 4-6th grade North Polk volleyball skills program and have volunteered there for the past two years.
- At Pioneer I have had numerous opportunities to be involved in furthering Ag education including assisting with dealer events in third world countries.
- I have volunteered for United Way and created and delivered literacy kits for use in metro school locations.
- I created the pre-packaged school supply program for the North Polk district.
- I successfully lead a project with over 100 team members ensuring cross functional coordination and communication to drive our project to completion.
Why do you want to serve on the North Polk Board of Education? As a resident I have watched over the past 10 years as our district has seen amazing growth and an influx of new families. I want to get involved in the budget activities and ensure our district is fiscally sound as we continue to expand our schools. I am excited to have the opportunity to collaborate with the members of our district to ensure the quality of education and the dedication to our students remains high as we address the demands of a growing population.
Both of our children have struggled with reading and required reading intervention. We were lucky and it was caught early, their teachers were able to help, and as a result they are thriving. I want to ensure all children have every opportunity to succeed and that we are doing everything we can for every type of learner. Additionally, I firmly believe in not only providing opportunities for our kids to have STEAM classes but ensuring our youth are set up to succeed in every type of future path.
Occupation: Engineering Manager at John Deere
Background: My family has been residents of North Polk for 6 years. My wife, Kristin, is a Nurse Practitioner at Iowa State University and has been involved in coaching youth sports, PTA, Polk City Women's Group, and has volunteered at the school consistently for several years. My wife and I have four active kids: Emersyn - 7th grade, Camden - 3rd grade, Dashel - Kindergarten, Paxton - 1 1/2 years old. I grew up on a family farm in south eastern South Dakota and attended South Dakota State University for Electrical Engineering. After college, I earned a Masters Degree from Penn State in Acoustics and lived in the Puget Sound Washington area, Washington DC, and then Cedar Falls, IA before moving to North Polk.
Involvement: I have been actively involved in various kids and school activities since moving to North Polk in 2013. I participated in the North Polk Facility and Enrollment Committee in 2015 and 2016 prior to the most recent school facility additions. I have also volunteered for field trips, classroom activities, Watchdog days at the elementary school and have coached baseball, softball, basketball, soccer, and football for at least one of our kid's teams each season. In addition to the school's activities, I have volunteered in various aspects with our church including leading mission trips and teaching Sunday School to middle school kids for several years.
Accomplishments: I am currently achieving one of my life long dreams by creating some of the newest products for the farming industry. I grew up on a 100 year farm; however, I knew I never wanted to pursue farming as a career. I now have 8 patents or pending patents and several company innovation awards. I have led a multi-disciple team of more than 20 people and am responsible for a multi-million dollar budget. Most importantly, I am blessed with a job that gives me the outstanding opportunity to utilize the latest engineering technologies to improve farmer's machinery for people like my dad and several family and friends that are still trying to run their family farms. Through my position, I have the opportunity to globally influence what the world is consuming and future environmental aspects. Prior to working at John Deere, I had several years working for the US government as part of the Department of the Defense, supporting various underwater defense systems.
Why do you want to serve on the North Polk Board of Education? I believe the best way to truly positively influence our children's future is to invest in their education. I have been volunteering my time to our kids' activities for several years. Rather than the primary focus be on athletics, I want to re-adjust my efforts toward their education. I have a passion for education and believe our children's school system directly impacts their future success and opportunities. Our district will continue to grow and I believe we will need strong leaders to continue to be proactive and make some forward looking plans to keep our school functioning at its ultimate potential for the benefit of the students and staff.
I have two somewhat unique aspects compared to candidates that would normally tend to run for an elected position: 1) We have had a positive experience with the North Polk School District and I am currently very happy with the state of affairs for many areas I have experienced. I hope to continue to strengthen this strong foundation enabled by great teachers and school staff members. I believe in setting high educational goals and the vision that all goals are achievable. 2) I don't carry strong agendas into this election. As an engineering professional and manager, I must often strategically weigh different options and data before making crucial decisions. I know I can bring this asset to the board and effectively make appropriate choices for our school district. In my management experience, it is critical to balance your budget appropriately, remove barriers to enable success, and enable the others around you to do even more than what they knew they were capable of doing. I owe it to the future generation of Comets to offer my vision and skills to the kids and faculty of the district.
Occupation: Risk Management - Insurance
Background: I grew up in NE Iowa and graduated from Gilbertville, Don Bosco in 1985 and then attended Iowa State University in 1990. My wife Julie and I have resided in the district since 1996. We have two daughters Jalen our oldest, graduated from North Polk in May of this year and Jerica is currently a Sophomore at North Polk.
Involvement: I have been a School Board member since 2015 and previous to that I was on the building and facilities committee. In addition I helped coach various athletic teams my daughters have played on.
Accomplishments: Currently hold a CSP designation for Risk Management/Safety Professionals. Also achieved the rank of Eagle Scout while in high school.
Why do you want to serve on the North Polk Board of Education? I would like to continue to serve on the Board in order fulfill the Districts long-term vision of providing opportunities and the appropriate level of services for all students to reach their fullest potential. This vision centers on both facilities and more importantly the classroom to ensure that all students are college and career ready when they leave North Polk. North Polk has a highly dedicated and knowledgeable staff teaching our children and as a board member I want to ensure that our staff have all the necessary means to carry out effective instruction.
Occupation: College Counselor
Background: I have been in education for the past 22 years. I graduated from Central College with a Bachelors Degree in Elementary Education. I taught for 5 years before receiving my Master's Degree in School Counseling from Iowa State University. I have been an elementary, and secondary counselor for the past 15 years. Just recently I was hired as the counselor at Mercy College of Health Sciences in Des Moines.
I have been happily married to my husband David Hauser for the past 18 years. We have two amazing children. Our daughter, Lilliana who is 14 years old and in 8th grade and our son Simon who is 11 years old and in 5th grade. David and I feel blessed to have built a home in Polk City two years ago. We love the community, and I am excited to hopefully contribute to North Polk's outstanding educational system.
Involvement: I have been a substitute teacher in the North Polk Schools. I am a member of the parent group at North Polk Middle School and joined the Central PTA this year. I have worked the concession stands at football and basketball games. I have coached a Comet Volleyball Club team the last 2 years and plan on coaching this year again. In the Polk City community, I am an active member of Lakeside Fellowship. I volunteered for Vacation Bible School, Kids 4 Truth, nursery, and serve on the worship team.
Accomplishments: I am a certified National Academy of Sports Medicine Personal Trainer, and yoga instructor.
Why do you want to serve on the North Polk Board of Education? I have a strong passion for high quality, equitable education. I want all students of North Polk to receive the best education they can and prepare them for the world of work. I know what is like to be a teacher/counselor. I know what students struggle with and what we can do as a educational system to support them. I want to also represent the teachers. They are professionals who do so much for our students. We need to make sure they have a voice. Finally, our district is growing at a rapid pace. I want to make sure our district has a written plan that administrators, teachers, staff and students have all had a voice at the table.
Background: I am a Wyoming native and following graduation from the University of Wyoming, my wife, Vali and I moved east to her native Iowa. We have called central Iowa home for over 26 years. We have three children, Emma (24), Maggie (20) and Ben (17). Emma graduated from Ankeny in 2013, the last year of one high school for that community. Emma thrived during her high school years, however raising our children during that transition, it was evident we wanted our younger children to be a part of a smaller school district. With good friends in the North Polk District, it was a natural choice. We moved into our home in Polk City in 2012. Maggie attended North Polk from 7th grade until graduation in 2017. Ben started 5th grade at Central Elementary and will be graduating with the North Polk Class of 2020 this May.
Since July, 2017 I have been the Controller for Bulls I Toys and Radz, toy companies owned by Excell Marketing in Des Moines. Previously, I was the Controller for the Iowa Credit Union League for ten years. Vali has been a pharmacist at Iowa Lutheran Hospital for 26 years. Emma, an Iowa State graduate, recently purchased a home in Ankeny and is an Accountant for Housby in Des Moines. Maggie, a junior at Iowa State, is currently President of Pi Beta Phi sorority and has her sights on becoming a Physician's Assistant. Ben is enjoying his senior year at NPHS where he is currently serving as President of the FFA and is a varsity soccer player.
Involvement: I was elected to the North Polk School Board in September, 2015 and have proudly served the community in that capacity for four years. The last two years, I’ve served as Vice President of the Board.
I served as the Treasurer of the North Polk Athletic Booster Club for six years from May, 2013 through this past May. I continue to co-direct the Youth Basketball Tournament, which is one of the largest fund raisers for the Booster Club. This coming January, North Polk will host its 7th Annual Tournament.
I coached youth basketball for 17 years, including a North Polk team in my final three years.
Accomplishments: Professionally, I have had the good fortune of working in central Iowa for 26 years. Through hard work and dedication to each of my employers I have steadily advanced my career and am thankful for the opportunities that I have had.
My greatest accomplishment, however, is my family. Vali and I have been married for 27 years and are blessed with three wonderful children. I freely share with those who inquire that my greatest legacy will be the family I leave behind. In addition, I would be remiss to not mention the many great friends we have who are basically family in their own right. God is indeed good.
Why do you want to serve on the North Polk Board of Education? It is my expectation, and should be the expectation of all, that the students in the North Polk Community School District receive a first class education. I am seeking reelection to the Board of Education because I want to continue the progress that has been made over the past four years.
North Polk is fortunate to have caring professionals; principals, teachers and staff that together deliver quality education and opportunity to our youth. In the four years I’ve been on the Board it has been a priority to compensate our staff competitively in order to award, retain and recruit the brightest educators we can. I believe we have made progress in this area and it will be a goal of mine to see that continue.
Our District is unique in its makeup of rural and urban areas and is challenged by the lack of an extensive corporate tax base. It is true that we have to make more with less. I believe we do a good job of being fiscally responsible and very aware of the tax impact on our constituents and I want to see that continue.
With the significant growth our District is experiencing, there will be important decisions to be made in not only how to maintain our current high standards, but also how to best lead our District forward.
It has been an honor to serve the North Polk community as a school board member the past four years. The current Board is a cohesive unit and I believe we are putting the District in a position to best handle the difficult choices we face. I am asking the community for your vote in order to see this continue. Thank you.
Occupation: Teacher (Industrial Technology)
Background: My family moved to Polk City in 2017. We moved from NW Iowa, and chose to live here specifically for North Polk School District. My wife April and I were both raised in small towns with smaller schools and wanted the same experience for our 2 children.
Involvement: My daughter Eleanor is 10 years old and in 4th grade at West Elementary. My son Samuel is 8 years old and is in 2nd Grade at West Elementary as well. I volunteer with their sporting activities, but unfortunately I am unable to volunteer due to my work schedule as a teacher during the school day.
Accomplishments: Industrial Technology instructor for 13 years. Masters Degree in Curriculum and Instruction. Endorsed to teach K-12 Art, 5-12 Industrial Technology, and 5-12 CTE Information Technology. City Councilman (Granville, IA), Volunteer Firefighter for 8 Years. I have also attended many different educational trainings.
Why do you want to serve on the North Polk Board of Education? North Polk has built a great reputation as a school and a family. It would be my honor to try and continue the work that has been done by staff, students, and families. Education is a passion of mine and I want to make sure our students safety and success are the top priorities at North Polk School District.