7 file for Albert Lea school board; filing ends Tuesday

Published 8:04 pm Monday, August 10, 2020

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Two people filed for Albert Lea school board last week, and five more filed Tuesday.

Filing remained open through 5 p.m. Tuesday, and there are three open seats on the board, with current terms ending in January for board members Angie Hanson, Ken Petersen and Neal Skaar.

Skaar, of rural Hayward, was one of the two people to file, along with Christopher Seedorf of Clark Grove.

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Skaar said he has enjoyed being a part of the school board in the last four years, helping tackle various issues and working with leaders in the district.

“I like being involved in District 241,” he said. “I enjoyed my involvement as a student, and I certainly enjoyed my involvement as a teacher. I just want to keep that involvement going.”

Skaar graduated from Albert Lea High School in 1964, attended Luther College and then started in the fall of 1968 as a teacher with the Albert Lea school district, where he taught for 46 years in the math and English departments. He said he particularly enjoyed teaching humanities.

He has also been a part of the Albert Lea wrestling team since 1968 in various roles, including as assistant and head coach. He now is a volunteer with the program.

He said over the last four years he has been proud to be a part of the new Hammer Complex, the completion of the new gym at Halverson Elementary School, the completion of the swimming locker rooms at the high school and the installation of air conditioning there, as well.

Skaar is also proud of the district staff, whom he described as “outstanding.”

“I’m really excited at the caliber we have working for us in every aspect,” he said. “We wouldn’t have a school district without our staff.”

He noted while there have been some bumps in the road, he as also enjoyed the enthusiasm and support the board has received from citizens in the community.

He described himself as someone who can facilitate discussions and work with people in a non-aggressive manner. He said it has always aimed to be a problem-solver rather than confrontational.

He also credited his knowledge in curriculum based on his own time as a teacher.

Seedorf, 43, said he was born and raised in Albert Lea and went through the school district himself as a student. He has lived in Clarks Grove for 12 years.

He is a stay-at-home dad and has been heavily involved in the Fountain Lake Sportsmen’s Club, in which he said he has spent the past two years as president. He said he has enjoyed all he has been able to do through area youth through that club.

He described himself as a people-person and a straight-shooter. He and his wife, Eleesha, have three children, two of which are now out of high school.

“I’m there for the families and the students,” Seedorf said. “I’m not there for political gains. I’m here to fight for the kids.”

He said his oldest son had a few disorders, and there weren’t enough resources in the district to help him with what he needed. He would like to be a voice for others in the district who may have similar needs.

“The most important thing for me is the families get to have their voice heard and the students get to have their voice heard,” Seedorf said.

As of press time, Kalli Rittenhouse, Jerry Collins, Angie Hoffman, Bruce Olson and Mary Elizabeth Harty had also filed for school board seats. Look to a future edition for more on those candidates.

Those with questions regarding filing as a school board candidate can contact Executive Assistant to the Office of the Superintendent and School Board Ashley Mattson at 379-4802.

Candidates must be 21 years old upon assuming office, an eligible voter, a resident of the school district for 30 days prior to the general election and have no other affidavit on file for any other office in the same election.