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4 for 4, all NCSD board candidates win election

Published: Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017 8:55 p.m. CST • Updated: Thursday, Sept. 14, 2017 9:52 a.m. CST
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(David Dolmage/Daily News)
Poll worker Rowe Winecoff greets voters at the Jasper County Community Center during the school board election in Newton on Tuesday.

All four candidates for the Newton Community School District Board secured a seat on Tuesday.

When the school board holds its next regular meeting on Sept. 25 there will be a couple of new faces at the table. With board members Andy Ebert and Shari Benson opting not to run again, two new candidates will take their places on the NCSD board this fall.

The candidates, Graham Sullivan and Cody Muhs both ran unopposed. Also unopposed were current board members Robyn Friedman and Travis Padget, the board’s vice president and president. Both Friedman and Padget will start their second terms on the school board. Padget said he is looking forward to working with Muhs and Sullivan, and plans to help them get up to speed as they join the board.

Poll workers said the turnout had been higher than expected, with more than 500 votes cast by 5 p.m. on Tuesday. Padget said he was encouraged by the turnout and hopes interest will remain high.

“School board elections are important, and I appreciate the whole community participating in the process,” Padget said. “It’s great see people turn out, the school affects thousands of families.”

“I think it’s really a one to two year minimum, the first year is really learning the terminology and learning how the finances work, it’s really about a two-year learning curve,” Padget said.

With no set agenda, Padget said he’s focused on making sure test scores for Newton students continue to improve, and that the district remains committed to improving communication between the school and parents. Padget cited communication as an area that needed improvement this fall.

Having a front row seat to the ongoing construction at Berg is also on Padget’s bucket list. For the board president, the future looks bright.

“I’m excited about the future of the NCSD, I think the direction we’re moving in is really strong and I’m excited to be a part of that,” Padget said.

Padget said he’s familiar with both candidates, having served on a previous board with Sullivan and Muhs is a regular attendee at school board meetings, and he’s excited to see what each of the new members will bring to the board. “I think they are both very thoughtful and considerate, which are two things that I think are really important for being on the school board,” Padget said.

For Sullivan, election didn’t bring any jitters. Even after casting her vote Tuesday, Sullivan said she realized she hadn’t felt nervous all day. Rather, she’s excited to get to work with the rest of the school board, and hopes to make a positive impact on the district.

“I just want to get acclimated and learn as much as I can,” Sullivan said.

Contact David Dolmage at 641-792-3121 ext. 6532 or ddolmage@newtondailynews.com

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