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11 candidates file for 3 Moorhead School Board seats up for grabs Nov. 4

MOORHEAD – It’s going to be a crowded ballot for this fall’s Moorhead School Board race.

Eleven candidates submitted their papers and paid $2 filing fees by the end of the day Tuesday.

Among them are incumbents Bill Tomhave and Laurie Johnson, and former Moorhead city councilman Mark Altenburg.

The 11 will be vying for three seats up for grabs in the Nov. 4 general election.

Incumbent Carol Ladwig decided not to run again.

Altenburg, 1321 15th Ave. S., said he’s worked on school issues for a decade.

He said he wants to improve collaboration between the city, schools, county and nonprofit groups, which will be important with the city’s potential for growth.

“I’ve got a lot of interest in making sure the kids are taken care of and that the community is engaged” in our school system, Altenburg said. 

Johnson, 7120 35th St. N., is finishing her first term on the board. She wants to continue to improve communication in the district.

“I’m very passionate about the students and the staff. I truly care about Moorhead Public Schools,” Johnson said.

Tomhave, 4315 S. Rivershore Drive, is closing in on 13 years of service on the board. He says his experience will come in handy.

“We’re at a time of real growth in the district and it’s going to be interesting to see the changes taking place,” Tomhave said.

Other candidates filing are:

  • Melissa Burgard, 618 31st St. N.
  • Scot W. Hagen, 1621 6th St. S.
  • Karla Swenson, 2840 29th St. S.
  • Cassidy Bjorklund, 4405 10th St. S.
  • Ryan Jensen, 816 7th Ave. S.
  • Karen Stensgard, 1109 4th Ave. N.
  • Brian Doucette, 1904 18th Ave. S.
  • David Marquardt, 3835 21st Ave. S.

By the end of December, Ladwig will have served a year on the board after being appointed to replace Trudy Wilmer, who had resigned.

Ladwig said she retired from a previous stint on the School Board in 2008 after serving 16½ years. While she’ll stay involved with school issues, she’s ready to give up her seat.

“It’s been fun. I’ve learned a lot of new things. I just thoroughly enjoyed it,” Ladwig said. “I think I’ll still be around if they think they need me.”

Newly elected board members will be seated in January.

Seven Moorhead School District residents serve on the School Board. They are elected at-large to four-year terms.

School Board members are paid $800 per month.

Helmut Schmidt

Helmut Schmidt was born in Germany, but grew up in the Twin Cities area, graduating from Park High School of Cottage Grove. After serving a tour in the U.S. Army, he attended the University of St. Thomas in St Paul, Minn., graduating in 1984 with a degree in journalism. He then worked at the Albert Lea (Minn.) Tribune and served as managing editor there for three years. He joined The Forum in October 1989, working as a copy editor until 2000. Since then, he has worked as a reporter on several beats, including education, Fargo city government, business and military affairs. He is currently The Forum's K-12 education reporter.

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