Central School Board Election: Meet Jered Finley, Rob Frieden


Jered Finley

Rob Frieden

Four newcomers and an incumbent are vying for open seats on the Central School Board. The following five names will appear on the ballot for the September 10 election: Jered Finley, Rob Frieden, Ed Hertrampf, Rachel Jaster (incumbent) and Peter Purman.

To acquaint Register readers with the candidates, profiles on all five will be published over the next two weeks. This issue features profiles in a question and answer format on Jered Finley and Rob Frieden. The remaining candidates will be the focus of next week’s article.

Voters are reminded that the registration deadline for this election is Friday, August 30. Voters can register on Election Day but pre-registration will make the voting process move more quickly and efficiently. 

Here’s a look at the first two candidates. All candidates were asked the same questions; their answers appear here as submitted to the paper.

Jered Finley, Elkader, is employed by the USDA—Natural Resources Conservation Services. He and his wife, Tina, have two school-aged youngsters, Brayden, 9, and Peyton, 7.

Why did you decide to run for school board?

I was given the opportunity to be involved in the hiring process of the new superintendent/principal as part of the community group. I found this experience rewarding and educational. It sparked an interest, which led me to want to be involved in my children’s education and to give back to my community.

What qualifies you to be a school board member?

A member of the Central Community School District who is passionate for education and the future of children, I am willing to be involved and make sound decisions to get the job done.  I am willing to listen to others and get their views before making a decision.  I am willing to give my time to a great community.

How would you interact with the parents you would represent?

I would like to see us communicate with parents more, get more parents involved and educate the community on school business. I feel the current board has taken a step in the right direction with its recent hire. I would make myself available at school and community functions and be willing to discuss matters. I would either explain the issue at hand or take the issue to the powers to be (board, superintendent) for resolution. Once resolved, I would go to the parent or group with the information. 

What do you think are the biggest challenges facing the Central Community School District?

Student enrollment. Central will need to maintain enrollment and I would like to see this increase. This seems to be the issue facing many rural communities. We need to educate our community that we are strong and offer opportunities that will attract families to our district.

If elected, what would you like to see accomplished during your term on the board?

I would like our school district to offer more opportunities across all aspects (classes/extra curricular activities) to make our students (better prepared for) the future.  Do more with less—we will need to be creative and think outside of the box to accomplish these tasks. We will need to accept and learn how to educate our students in non-traditional method. As parents and community, we will need to trust our teachers and leaders, educate ourselves and understand those processes. I would like to be that avenue, empowering our teachers with what they need, supporting the leadership of the school and communicating with the community. I am in this for the kids!

Anything else you’d like to add?

I am originally from northwest Iowa where I grew up on a family farm.  have recently (four years ago) moved back to the area. One of the reasons that our family chose Elkader is the community. Elkader has a lot of great things to offer and is a great community. I appreciate everyone’s time and the opportunity to be on the ballot.

 Elkader resident Rob Frieden, is a vice president at Central State Bank. He and his wife, Joan, have two daughters. Haley is 8 and Ella is three.

Why did you decide to run for school board? 

I decided to run for the School Board because of my commitment to the education and development of our young people. With one of my girls in school and the other entering school in the next couple years, I want to be more involved with their education. 

What qualifies you to be a school board member? 

I believe that any individual in the district who cares about the education and development of our youth is qualified to be School Board Member. Having been a Central graduate, I have an appreciation and commitment for the school. My past experiences on various boards have given me an understanding of what it takes to work together to accomplish goals and objectives as a team.

How would you interact with the parents you would represent? 

As a member of the School Board, I will have an open door policy. In order to serve the district, we must be available and willing to listen to the needs of the district. As a school board member, I will take into consideration all ideas and try to make the best possible decisions for the district.

What do you think are the biggest challenges facing the Central Community School District? 

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing the district at this time are declining enrollment and allocating the necessary resources in order to improve student achievement. With fewer students the task of deciding how to spend our funds will be a challenge each year.

If elected, what would you like to see accomplished during your term on the board?

Items I would like to see accomplish during this term would be the continued work on maintaining a financially strong and viable school district. In addition, the continued focus on improving academic performance and student achievement.

Anything else you’d like to add? 

The school is very important to the Elkader, St. Olaf, Volga, Elkport, Garber, Littleport and rural communities. In order for these communities to prosper we must maintain a vibrant, progressive and local school district. It is my understanding that the school has gone through some financial challenges in the past few years due in part to declining enrollment. The current School Board has done a good job of addressing those challenges and planning for the future. I want to continue with, and add to the work they started. If we all work together we can continue to provide a great local school for our children for many years.

Note: Ed Hertrampf, Rachel Jaster and Peter Purman will be featured September 4.

By Pam Reinig, Register Editor

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