Meet The Candidates Seeking Positions With The Le Mars Community School District Board of Education (Updated)


Ashley Knapp

(Le Mars) — Election day is only about two weeks away, and citizens will be voting for both city positions, as well as board of education positions.  This year, there are several races for both city council positions and school board positions.  This week, KLEM radio is focusing our attention on those candidates seeking a position on the Le Mars Community Board of Education.  There are four candidates seeking the position of school board member for District 1.  They include: Lorraine DeJong, Gina Vacura, Mary Milder, and Ashley Knapp.  Today we begin our candidate interviews by visiting with Ashley Knapp and learn about her reasons for running for the local school board. Knapp grew up in Le Mars and attended Le Mars Community School.

Knapp explains her interest in the school district and her reasons for seeking a position with the Le Mars Community Board of Education.

Knapp says, if elected, she would like to focus some attention on the school district’s infrastructure system.

Knapp says she wants to always be evaluating the school’s curriculum, and to make certain our students are properly prepared and well educated.


Lorraine DeJong

We continue our school board candidate profiles by visiting with Lorraine DeJong.  DeJong grew up in the Le Mars area, and was a Middle School teacher at Le Mars Community for more than 20 years, and having more than 30 years in education.  She says her background with education gives her a better perspective for being a member of the Board of Education.

DeJong says she is proud to have a fourth generation of her family attend the Le Mars Community Schools.  She has grandchildren attending Kindergarten and Second grade.  DeJong says she wants to insure a great learning environment for our students, and to make certain the school’s financials are sound.

DeJong says it would be her goal to see that Le Mars Community hires the very best top-notch educators to continue the tradition of education excellence.

The former teacher, now school board candidate, says Le Mars Community has a great educational program, and is often the envy of other school districts.

DeJong says she wants voters to know she will listen to their concerns, and be a voice for them at school board meetings.    All residents living within the Le Mars Community School District are eligible to vote for candidates of the separate districts that comprise of the entire school district.  Election day is scheduled for Tuesday, November 2nd.  Today, Monday, October 18th  is the last day a requested absentee ballot can be mailed to registered voters.

Wanda Wichers

(Le Mars) — We continue our profiles of candidates seeking positions with the Le Mars Community Board of Education.  Wanda Wichers is a candidate seeking the director representing District 4 of the school district.  Wichers is an employee at Bellissimo’s Coffee Works, and she and her husband have resided in Le Mars for the past 27 years. Wichers says an issue she wants to address while serving on the local school board is improving the infrastructure of the school, mainly to look at the elementary building.

Wichers says she wants to help out our community and actually thought about running for the school board in the past.  She says she is running this time around since she has more time to commit to school-related concerns.

Wichers says as a director on the Board of Education, she wants voters to know she will always listen to the concerns of parents, and other people with an interest in the local school.

The school board candidate says she is proud of the Le Mars Community School District for all of its accomplishments, and strong dedication to education, and she would like to see the track record continue.

Wichers expanded on her interest of improving the elementary schools.  She says she would favor the construction of one large elementary school building and would like to see Clark, Franklin, and Kluckholn all join together.  Wichers says the new combined elementary school building could be located on ground across the street to the west from the present high school and middle school and ball park facilities.  She says the ground is already owned by the school district.  Wichers shares her goal in terms of a timetable to have a new elementary school building.

Wichers offers voters some final thoughts as they ponder their decision for elected school board directors.


Mary Milder

(Le Mars) — Continuing with our profiles of school board candidates, today we speak with Mary Milder, who is one of four candidates seeking the position on the board of education to represent District 1.  Mary admits to being somewhat new to the town of Le Mars, having moved here just five years ago, but she says she wants to contribute to the community, which is a reason why she is seeking a position on the local school board.

Milder is employed with Plains Area Mental Health clinic as a licensed social worker.  She wants people to realize she is a determined individual.

Milder says her background serves as good qualifications to be a school board member.

Milder says a major of goal of hers as a director with the Le Mars Community Board of Education is to see that students are engaged with their studies and opportunities.

Milder says she hopes everyone participates by voting for school board directors.

Gina Vacura

(Le Mars) — There are four candidates seeking a position on the Le Mars Community Board of Education to represent District 1.  We have profiled three of the candidates, and today our focus is on Gina Vacura.  For the past 23 years, Vacura has worked in the surgical department and is employed with Floyd Valley Healthcare.

Vacura offers her reasons for wanting to be placed on the Le Mars Community Board of Education.

Vacura says she has been active with many school-related activities, such as Music Boosters, and the Le Mars FFA.

Vacura believes a future challenge that will face the Le Mars Community Board of Education is recruiting top qualified faculty and staff members.

Gina Vacura believes the Le Mars Community School District is a strong district, and she says her interest with the local school board stems from conversations with a former long-time school board member.

Vacura says if elected, she will listen to suggestions brought to her attention.  She says the school board has a rich tradition of excellence, and she would do what she can to continue that tradition.  Vacura says she is ready to serve the community, and she wants to hold the school to be fiscally responsible.  She says the school district needs to constantly evaluate the educational curriculum, and the school needs to prepare every student to be successful after graduation.


Makenzie Lang

(Le Mars) — There is one candidate running this year for a school board position that was previously a member of the school board, but due to having to move, she had to resign her position from the school board.  Makenzie Lang was elected a few years ago to represent the rural District 5.  However, when she and her family decided to move into town, she was no longer eligible to continue to serve on the school board.  Now she is again a candidate seeking the position to represent District 4.  Lang says during her time on the Le Mars Community Board of Education she learned that budgeting for a school is different than for a business.

Lang talks about her goals, if elected again, to the local school board.

Lang says the other area of priority is to provide sufficient mental health services to students.

Lang says she grew up on a farm within the Le Mars school district.  She has three children all attending the Le Mars Community School District, which is a major reason for her interest of becoming a school board member.

Lang says her professional background is another qualification, and lends well to serving on the school board.

The other candidate seeking a position on the school board from District 4 is Wanda Wichers.


Jill Feuerhelm

(Le Mars) — Looking at the candidates seeking a position with the Le Mars Community Board of Education, today we focus on District 5 where Jill Feuerhelm is seeking election.  Feuerhelm is running unopposed for the school board position. She was appointed to the school board following Makenzie Lang’s resignation due to moving out of the representative district.  Feuerhelm has served on the board of education for a little more than a year.  She says she has enjoyed her time serving on the Le Mars Community Board of Education.

Feuerhelm says she has learned a great deal since serving on the local school board, including having a better idea of the school’s financial structure.

Feuerhelm tells of her reasons for running for the Le Mars Community Board of Education.

Feuerhelm identifies the many challenges facing the school board.

The school board member says a goal of hers, as well as with the other school board members, administration, and faculty is to see an increase of percentage of students have higher proficiency ratings with science, reading, and mathematics.


Aaron Tolzin

(Le Mars) — We conclude our focus on school board candidates with a visit with Aaron Tolzin who is running unopposed for the position representing District 2.  Tolzin says he is pursuing a position with the Le Mars Community Board of Education because he wants to give back to our community.

Tolzin says the student’s success, as well as the success for the school district are among his goals as a school board director.

Other school board candidates have identified a need to either upgrade, or construct a new elementary building.  Tolzin says that is an idea he would support.

Tolzin is proud of the impressive reputation of the Le Mars Community School District and of the previous school boards.  He says however, there is always room for improvement.

Tolzin says he realizes Le Mars Community is growing with its minority demographic, and he would like to see additional attention devoted to the English as a second language program to better help students and families with the understanding and comprehension of English.




Keep checking back to this website page for additional interviews with Le Mars Community Board of Education candidates.