We see that you have javascript disabled. Please enable javascript and refresh the page to continue reading local news. If you feel you have received this message in error, please contact the customer support team at 1-833-248-7801.

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

8 challengers, 1 incumbent file for 3 seats on Moorhead School Board

Registration is still open. Many of those registering to run for Moorhead School Board are focused on teacher and staff shortage issues.

08XX21.N.FF.MHDMASKS.5
Lisa Hahn distributes a proposed pledge to board members including Kara Gloe, from left, Cassidy Bjorklund and Melissa Burgard during a Moorhead School Board meeting Monday, Aug. 23, 2021, in the Operations Center Board Room, 1313 30th Ave. S. Hahn is now running to be on the School Board.
Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor
We are part of The Trust Project.

MOORHEAD — With more than two months left to go before the Moorhead Area Public School Board election, nine people are vying for three open seats.

The school board has a total of seven seats, with incumbents Keith Vogt, Rachel Stone and Kara Gloe up for reelection. Only Vogt will be running for reelection. The registration window for the Nov. 8 election opened Aug. 2 and closes Tuesday, Aug. 16.

Gloe announced in April that she will not be running for reelection, and Stone confirmed Friday that she, too, will not be running.

The challengers so far include Marissa Ahlering, Lorilee Bergin, Lisa Hahn, Scott Kostohryz, Ken Lucier, David Marquardt, Nikki Pollock and Clint Rossland.

David Marquardt.jpeg
David Marquardt
Special to The Forum

Marquardt has more than 20 years of experience in public education and wants to be a voice for staff, students and the community, he said.

ADVERTISEMENT

“I feel our public school is the heart of our community, and I will work hard to keep it that way,” he said. Staffing issues are one of his main concerns.

Scott Kostohryz.JPG
Scott Kostohryz
Special to The Forum

Kostohryz has been a police officer in Moorhead for 22 years and has been supervising the district School Resource Officer program for the past 10 years.

"I have a good working relationship with the district, and I would like to take my experience to help the district accomplish their mission," he said.

"I find that building security and student safety is a big focus. The district has come a long way, but there is still work to do to ensure campus security," Kostohryz said.

Lorilee Bergin.jpg
Lorilee Bergin
Special to The Forum

Bergin has been an elementary teacher in Fargo Public Schools for the past 12 years, and it’s her first time running for any type of elected office. She has two children, a senior and a sophomore, in Moorhead Area Public Schools, and she’s going to attempt to knock on 4,000 doors during her campaign.

“I am running so we can support staff, support mental health and to raise student achievement,” Bergin said.

Marissa Ahlering.png
Marissa Ahlering
Special to The Forum

Ahlering is a lead scientist for The Nature Conservancy, a nonprofit environmental organization. She has two daughters in Moorhead Area Public Schools who she said are the reasons she is running for elected office.

“I want to do a lot of listening and learning on what the issues are and how to problem-solve those things,” Ahlering said, adding she wants to focus on the teachers, students administrators, mental health and social and emotional development issues.

ADVERTISEMENT

Ahlering, Bergin and Rossland all expressed their belief that politics does not have a place in public schools.

“I am pro-public school, and I think it’s a great institution to educate all kids, and I don’t think politics or religion have a place in schools,” Bergin said, adding that people’s preferred pronouns should be used, and children should be able to read books where they can identify themselves.

“That’s not political, that’s respect,” she said. “And we need to teach history. It isn’t always pretty, but we need to learn from our mistakes, see these choices in context and relate the events to where we are now.”

“School board positions are nonpartisan positions, and there are good reasons for that. Members need to serve all people in the district,” Ahlering said.

Clint Rossland.jpg
Clint Rossland
Special to The Forum

“Politics have no place in the school district; the school board represents every student, and there is really no place for politics at all,” Rossland said.

Rossland has been working at Sanford Health in the planning and instructional department as a health systems engineer for 12 years. He has two children enrolled in Moorhead Area Public Schools.

Marquardt taught in Fargo Public Schools for 21 years, was the Fargo Education Association president for five years and is now working with North Dakota United.

Politics and education inevitably intertwine, he said, but there is a “fine line of where it should go and where it should stop.

ADVERTISEMENT

Hahn, Pollock and Lucier are working as a team, advertising their goals together on Facebook. They’re hoping to sweep the three open seats.

“It is time for a major shift in how we educate here in Moorhead,” Hahn said on the Facebook page.

As a teacher of ESL, special education and music, Hahn has experience working with challenged students and supports parents and teachers, not the government, decideing what is best for children, she announced on the group’s Facebook page.

Ken Lucier.jpg
Ken Lucier
Special to The Forum

Lucier was in the military for about 10 years and has 22 years of experience being a federal employee. Now, he’s retired, but he ran for the school board twice in the 1980s, he said.
“It’s time for a change,” Lucier said, adding he’s working with Hahn and Pollock because they agree on the philosophy related to parental rights on health care decisions.

“We think parental rights are going in the wrong direction, with more and more control of the children outside of the parents. I don’t think that is a good thing. The kids in this district, we don’t want them to be wards of the state,” Lucier said.

Another issue he is focused on is school bus transportation . He believes the district, now short 14 drivers, could have better prepared and found better solutions.

On Thursday, Aug. 11, Moorhead Area Public Schools announced that children on school buses will increase from 55 to more than 70, and some families within the district will have to walk if they live within two miles of a school building.

Additionally, district spokeswoman Brenda Richman said the district was down seven bus drivers from the 2021-2022 school year, and they were down seven from the year before, which would make a total of 14 positions open if the district was still using older bus routes.

"Since the routes have already been restructured to maximum efficiency, being down seven will lead to greater impacts to families this coming fall," Richman said.

“They’re getting to the point this year where they were forced to make awful decisions because they waited until the last minute,” Lucier said. “This was very foreseeable, and a lot of parents are going to be upset about it. We want to listen to what parents have to say."

Hahn, Pollock and Vogt did not respond to requests for comment before publication.

C.S. Hagen is an award-winning journalist currently covering the education and activist beats mainly in North Dakota and Minnesota.
What to read next
A traffic experiment in Moorhead is enraging drivers across the metro as parts of Main Avenue are down to three lanes instead of five. Closures are a test to see if changing the road permanently would be a good idea.
More than 6 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's disease, a leading cause of death in the United States.
Make a plan to vote! Election Day is Nov. 8 in Cass and Clay counties.
Attendees will learn about cultural and religious beliefs impacting mental healthcare and how to reduce stigma.