Education

Businesswoman Jen Neumann to run for Cedar Rapids school board

She will bid for one of two at-large seats

Jen Neumann
Jen Neumann

CEDAR RAPIDS — Jen Neumann, a partner in the Cedar Rapids-based marketing firm de Novo, said Friday she will run for a seat on the Cedar Rapids school board.

In addition to a professional emphasis on community development, Neumann said she has been active in both of her daughters’ education in Cedar Rapids schools.

“I’m a Cedar Rapids fan girl — I love our school district, I love our community and I really believe in our school system,” said Neumann, 46. “It’s important to have people with perspectives of what’s currently going on in the schools — and what their kids are experiencing — on the board.”

Neumann will run for one of two at-large seats on the seven-member board.

Neither at-large incumbent — John Laverty and Kristin Janssen — is running for re-election.

School board elections are Nov. 5 and will be among the first combined city-school elections in Iowa, a statewide change expected to increase voter turnout in school board elections.

Neumann said supporting innovation in education is her No. 1 priority.

“So much has changed in how education is delivered,” she said. “There is a lot of pressure on educators to deliver better results — often with fewer resources, but also in a changed climate in general. If our educators can’t deliver a top-notch education, then we can’t expect our kids to get one.”

Neumann said she would bring deep community connections with her to the school board, as well as an emphasis on reaching students “in the middle” — those who aren’t underperforming academically but also aren’t high-achieving.

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“(There’s a) big group in the middle that I think needs more attention than it gets, in order for them to find a clearer path to their futures,” she said. “Some of these kids just get lost. We need to look at every kid.”

Four school board seats will be on the Nov. 5 ballot.

David Tominsky, 43, announced in June he intends to run for the board’s District 1 seat, now represented by five-term board member Mary Meisterling.

The District 4 seat, represented by Rafael Jacobo, also is on the ballot.

The positions are unpaid. Terms are for four years.

The candidate filing period for both school and city candidates begins Aug. 26.

The deadline for filing school board nominating petitions is 5 p.m. Sept. 19.

l Comments: (319) 398-8330; molly.duffy@thegazette.com

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