ISD194 Election Recap

Who won the school board election, what the school board is for, and what students think.


Maggie McBrady, Writer and editor

On November 8th, tens of hundreds of Lakeville voters gathered at polling stations to express their views through electing governing representatives, more specifically, to elect four members to the open seats on the Lakeville school board. This election was a crucial one, not just to cycle through the members on the board, but each candidate who ran for school board had a specific idea of what they wanted to be changed in the district. This was an opportunity for students, parents, and community members to make their voices heard through an individual in the position to act on their views. This week, in time for the new quarter, comes four new members to the Lakeville Area Schools Board of Education, a group that every student in the district should know about.

What does the school board do?

The Lakeville Area Schools Board of Education is a group of seven elected members who serve four-year terms. According to the ISD194 website, the school board is elected “to be legally responsible for making education available to all children in Lakeville Area Schools.” The board of education makes policies, then the superintendent and administration make regulations to enforce these policies. For example, last year the “devious licks” trend of taking school property was a significant issue in Lakeville. To combat this, the school board would make a policy to protect school property, then to enforce this the school administrators like the principals and deans would create regulations like giving people taking clocks from classrooms in-school suspension. Most district decision-making is made by the school board and staff, but one way for the public to participate is to vote for candidates with similar views and goals, but this can be an issue when the people most affected by the school board are frequently students below 18 years of age.


Carly Anderson ISD 194 Lakeville – Candidate for ISD 194 Lakeville Area Schools Board of Education
Carly Anderson and her family.

Who won the election?

The candidates who won the election to the four open seats on the school board are (in order of popular vote) Carly Anderson, Kim Baker, Brian Thompson, and Bree Schindele.

Many members of the Lakeville community became familiar with Carly Anderson during Cinta Schmitz’s election and campaign last year for the open seat on the school board. Carly Anderson, Cinta Schmitz, and Edward Reuben Spinner ran against each other, with Cinta Schmitz winning the seat. In the upcoming weeks of the election, Schmitz faced backlash from parents and students after a clip of her on the Redbeard the Patriot podcast was released, where she claimed that through the education system schools are indoctrinating students to disrespect law enforcement and that schools are in the wrong for encouraging students to express their gender identities (Chad Rafdal’s Redbeard the Patriot podcast recordings have since been removed after posts of him at the National Captiol on January 6th surfaced). Many parents and students were upset at Schmitz’s election to the board, and Carly Anderson became the alternative choice with more focus on the students themselves rather than the curriculum. On August 31st Cinta Schmitz announced that she would not be running for reelection in November. The announcement on her campaign’s Facebook reads: “The decision of whether or not to run again has weighed heavily on my heart since the day I was elected. Many factors came into play when this decision was made and while I have experienced pushback and disappointment from people because I have decided not to, I am completely at peace and truly feel this was the best decision for myself and my family.” Carly Anderson’s focus on students in her campaign this year and last year has gained her approval among students voting in this year’s election.

Carly Anderson has been involved in Lakeville schools as a mother of her kids attending Century Middle School and Eastview Elementary School, as well as being a member of the Multi-District Collaborative Council and an active participant in ISD194 school board meetings. As a mental health professional, one of the priorities she lists on her website is mental health support for students. She believes that during the pandemic students have been isolated without chances to practice social and emotional health at school, and that focusing on students’ mental health will grow their academic achievement.

According to her answer to the questionnaire by Sun Thisweek, something Carly Anderson would like changed in the school district is to “enhance curriculum to ensure that students have educational experiences that inform their decision-making for life after graduation.” She also wants to encourage student leadership and representation in their schools and on the school board. “Appointing a student member to the board or creating an equity-focused student/parent committee would ensure representation of all stakeholders when making decisions relevant to equity and inclusion in our schools.”

Community voice is a hot topic among candidates, as in May the public comment section of school board meetings was discontinued. The public comment period allowed students, parents, staff, and people in the ISD194 community to voice their concerns to the school board and the viewers, it was also broadcasted as part of the bi-monthly school board meetings, so the public could watch whether they were part of the district community or not. To replace the public comment section a new meeting time was put in place for “stakeholder sessions .” Stakeholders are anyone who was previously allowed to speak at school board meetings: students, parents, and staff in ISD194. This change may not seem like much, but to increase the security of the district’s meetings and to manage time spent during public comment these stakeholder sessions are now held in the hour before school board meetings, which makes it so these sessions aren’t open to the public or publicly broadcasted. 

What do students think?

When school district policies are often dependent on what parents push for and board members decide, students can have a hard time getting their voices heard. On the Friday before election day, I surveyed students with the same questions on the Sun Thisweek questionnaire, to get an idea of how students’ views reflected the candidates. Three of the candidates mentioned focusing more on students’ mental health, a popular topic among students post-quarantine. When asked what they would want to be changed in schools, Ainsley Barker said “I’d push for more time with friends, like on Wellness Wednesdays, I think we should bring that back, that would help people a lot.” Wellness Wednesdays were in place during the 2020-2021 school year. Students wouldn’t have Webex class meetings on Wednesdays to give them time to work on homework or relax, similarly to academic seminars, students were able to meet with their teachers for help. After Wellness Wednesdays were discontinued students were encouraged to use mental health resources at school like the Cougar Support Staff and counselors. Ainsley also commented, “I think the language could be policed because I hear a lot of slurs that get said.” Bullying has been something schools have always worked on eliminating, but more recently Lakeville South has been using its “thoughtful, responsible, and safe” initiative to have students focus more on respect. Issues at school like bullying and mental health can be hard to talk about to parents or teachers, which makes them more likely to be overlooked topics or not be brought up at all by students. Having a student community connection with the school board is important for students’ voices to be heard and their requests to be acted upon. I encourage every student at Lakeville South, no matter if they voted this year or are new to South, to use their voices and speak at stakeholder sessions or contact the school board with issues in our schools. The board of education can make a decision, but students can make a change.

More information on the Lakeville school board can be found on the ISD194 website and at the following link: 

The regular business meetings of the Board of Education are conducted on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month unless otherwise noted. Meetings are open to the public in the Juniper Commons building by Goodwill and Dairy Queen.