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Education

Retired teacher, activist Cindy Garlock running for Cedar Rapids school board

Garlock to campaign for one of two at-large seats

Cindy Garlock — a retired teacher and noted Democratic activist — announced Thursday she plans to run for Cedar Rapids School Board.

Garlock spent the bulk of her 33-year teaching career at Kennedy High School, where she was chairwoman of the science department for a decade.

Running for school board “is an opportunity for me to go back to my roots in education,” Garlock, 65, said. “And use some of the things I’ve learned in my activism to really be an advocate for public schools, in a different capacity than I did in the classroom.”

CEDAR RAPIDS - The Cedar Rapids school board is primed for a shake-up this November, when three incumbents won't run for reelection.

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School board elections are Nov. 5, and will share a ballot with city elections for the first time this year.

As the school board considers an extensive facilities plan and hires its next superintendent, Garlock said she would provide an educator’s perspective while keeping students at the center of every issue.

She said she believes teachers deserve updated school buildings — so they don’t have to compromise their lessons to fit outdated space, as she once did — as well as consistent administrative leadership.

“I would like to see someone who would make a little longer-term commitment to this district,” Garlock said, referring to Brad Buck’s recent departure after four years with Cedar Rapids Schools. “Superintendent Buck left a little sooner than anyone had anticipated, so I think we need to take our time and make sure we’re finding someone who has a deep commitment to Cedar Rapids.”

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Garlock plans to host a campaign launch event for the public at Parlor City Pub on July 25 from 5:30 to 7 p.m.

Since retiring in 2009, Garlock and her husband, Elwood, have committed themselves to political activism. A highlight of their work, they previously told The Gazette, was the defeat of former 1st District Republican Rep. Rod Blum.

At an Iowa Democratic event in June — which brought 19 presidential candidates to Cedar Rapids — she and Elwood were honored as “Outstanding Activists” for their efforts.

“I’ve learned a lot about how to speak up effectively for things I believe in,” Garlock said. “I think, with my background in education and my knowledge of public education, that will serve me well as a board member.”

School board positions are non-partisan, and members serve without pay.

Garlock plans to file for one of two at-large seats on the board. Neither of the incumbents, John Laverty and Kristin Janssen, is running for re-election.

Jen Neumann, a marketing professional, also is running for one of two at-large terms on the ballot.

Entrepreneur David Tominsky has said he will run for the District 1 seat held by Mary Meisterling, who is not running for re-election.

The filing period for the school board elections begins Aug. 26 and ends at 5 p.m. Sept. 19.

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

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