Two Incumbents and Three Newcomers Vie For Sartell Board
SARTELL -- Two incumbents and three newcomers are in the race this year for Sartell School Board's three open seats.
Incumbents Jeremy Snoberger and Patrick Marushin are running against Taryn Gentile, Melinda Vonderahe and Amanda Bryd. District finances, open community communication and maintaining Sartell's reputation in education are common ideas among this year's crop of candidates.
A former pastor and business owner, Snoberger is one of two incumbents seeking re-election. He hopes his experience on the board will help that bid. Snoberger says he wants to serve on the board again, partly because he feels he handles the "big picture" nature of the board well.
"We don't get into the daily [activity]. We create policies and environments that allow our staff to do the amazing things they do on a daily basis. So I feel I can see that big picture well."
Snoberger says one of his biggest priorities is to foster better communication between the board and other parts of the district, like the staff, community and the administration.
Marushin's been on the board for four years. He's a stay at home father and active member in the Sartell community through several different roles. Marushin says being a stay at home parent has allowed him to be a more effective board member. He says he's well positioned to lead the district for another term.
"I feel like I can provide leadership to the district and help maintain the excellence Sartell is known for as we continue to grow."
Marushin says one of his biggest priorities will be to provide guidance during the upcoming moves for the district. As they open their new high school next fall and remodel their current high school soon after.
Gentile works in the financial industry, along with being a licensed attorney. She says she also brings a unique perspective, with a 15-year-old son and 3-year-old daughter, of being able to see both current and future needs in the district. Gentile says using taxpayer dollars well is one of her biggest concerns.
"One of my biggest concerns is making sure we're providing enough opportunities for our kids throughout the district. I want to be sure the money we're given by our taxpayers and community is used wisely toward that end."
She says the district's biggest challenge is finances. Gentile wants to make sure taxpayers know their board is using the money they're given in a way that benefits the students and community.
Vonderahe was the former President and Publisher for the St. Cloud Times and is making her first foray into politics. She says she wants to start giving back to the community and feels the school board is the best way to do that. Vonderahe says her time with the paper puts her in a great spot to help lead the district.
"That experience working with school districts -- boards and administrators -- and understanding achievement gaps and budgets, and asking tough questions. I'll be able to put that experience to work for our community."
She says she wouldn't make any wholesale changes, as Sartell already does very well in education. Vonderahe says a big priority for her would be managing the growth the district is already experiencing.
A substitute teacher in the district, Byrd is taking her first dive in the political world with her entry into the elections this year. She has four kids in the district. Outside of that, she does a lot of work with GREAT Theatre. Byrd says she wants to make sure Sartell's schools are the best they can be.
"I really loved being involved. I'm really excited to try and make our schools the best they can be for our kids. So I've really developed a passion for working behind the scenes and helping our schools continue to be excellent."
Looking forward, Byrd wants to make sure the upcoming transition for the district into the new high school goes as smoothly as possible. Saying she wants to listen to the community and students to see what works and what doesn't.
The general election is November 6th.