A look at the Bismarck School Board candidates

Published: Jun. 3, 2022 at 8:05 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - We continue our series on candidates running for local elections in Bismarck-Mandan.

The Bismack School Board has five members, and three of those seats are on the ballot this year. For those three seats, there are ten candidates running. Here’s a look at each of them.

Amanda Davis has two kids in the Bismarck Public School district. She wants to bring more transparency to the School Board by encouraging more community communication, and would like to see more learning programs created from federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund grants.

Dr. Emily Eckroth is a general practice physician in Bismarck. She believes families are the primary stakeholders in their children’s education and so hopes to encourage more parent involvement. She also hopes to ensure all students are receiving equal access to resources.

Natasha Gourd is the Executive Director of the Indigenous Education Coalition. Her top priority is to support students in a way that reflects the values of the district. She believes that means making decisions that meet the unique needs of each student.

Josh Hager is the father of three kids currently enrolled in Bismarck Public Schools. An accountant by trade, if he’s elected, he hopes to focus on continued growth, teacher retention, and fiscal responsibility.

Travis Jensen ran for School Board in 2018, he hopes to bridge the gap between administration and community stakeholders by boosting community involvement, which he hopes will generate discussion that will lead to solutions to issues such as bullying.

Jon Lee is the only incumbent running. He was first elected in 2018 and is currently the board president. He has kids at BPS schools and his top priorities include managing the rapid growth of the district, the ever-changing needs surrounding the mental health of the students and maximizing the district’s resources.

Amanda Peterson is a mother to three BPS students and has served as a state-level director, dean, instructional coach, and English teacher. She hopes to promote individualized instruction and to ensure the district is meeting academic goals, allocating resources responsibly, and engaging with its stakeholders appropriately, while also being a good steward of public money.

Rebecca Pitkin has been a teacher, administrator, teacher education professor, volunteer for community agencies, Dickinson school board member, and currently works at the teacher licensing agency. She plans to focus on teacher retention by supporting educators and to develop strategies and solutions to maintain an excellent district during a time of growth.

Nick Thueson has five kids in BPS schools. Having worked in city government and on a school board before, his top priority is to give the kids a place to succeed, to offer support to educators and administrators, and to represent the parents and community.

Greg Wheeler works in media and has a son in the district. He wants to show more support to teachers and to make sure everyone, from parents to teachers and kids, are represented.

The election is on June 14th.

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