Seven seek three school board seats

Seven candidates are running for three open seats on the Fort Dodge Community School District board.

Newcomers Randal Funchess, Troy Schroeder, Lisa Shimkat, William Offerman and John F. Williams have announced they are running in the Sept. 10 election. Incumbents Stuart Cochrane and Brian Forsythe are seeking re-election.

The top three candidates will be elected to four-year terms on the board.

Jennifer Lane, FDCSD director of communications, said it is great having so many candidates.

“It’s nice to see so many people interested in the future of our youngsters and the quality of their education,” Lane said. “We’re thrilled to have a selection of candidates for the public to be able to choose from.”

Randal Funchess, a Boehringer Ingleheim Vetmedica employee, is running to be both a voice in his community and for his children.

“I’ve always kind of had a passion for giving back to my community,” Funchess said. “I’ve got kids who are going to be going to Fort Dodge schools for a time and I wanted to see I had an impact in their schooling. The other idea was that it would allow for the community to have a medium.”

Troy Schroeder, owner of Memories in Focus Photography, said he wants to make a difference in the community.

“It comes down to this, I have no pre-set agenda,” Schroeder said. “I don’t have a positive or negative view on any issue, and that’s what inspired me to do that. And a little bit of the fact that I, as a person, just want to get involved in something. And so I have a sixth-grader and I thought what’s better than school board?”

Lisa Shimkat, Fort Dodge Small Business Development Center director, said that, for her, running for school board was a big decision.

“My family and I have been involved in a lot of school activities throughout the years and we take a lot of pride in our school system. We have two kids in college now and an 11th-grader and a sixth-grader,” Shimkat said. “With my financial background and involvement to date in the school system I thought I had a lot to offer. I want to be able to use these strengths to help the district become stronger.”

William Offerman, a salesman with Mitch Lunn State Farm insurance, is running to continue his involvement in education.

“I have a degree in education from the University of Northern Iowa,” Offerman said. “I’m not teaching right now, so it’s just another way for me to get back into a school district to help influence change in education.”

Brian Forsythe has served on the FDCSD board for seven years and is presently the board’s vice president. He works at HiWay Truck Equipment. Forsythe said he is seeking another term because there is work still to be done.

“I think there’s still some unfinished business that I would like to see through, implementation of the Iowa Core, the new middle school, see that through,” Forsythe said. “The community as a whole I think Fort Dodge is a very exciting place right now and I think the school district is a key part of that and I think there’s something I can still offer for another term.”

Stuart Cochrane, an attorney with Johnson, Kramer, Good, Mulholland, Cochrane & Driscoll, has served on the school board for more than 15 years and is presently the board’s president. He is seeking another term because he enjoys serving the community and its families, he said, and working with his fellow board members.

“I still feel very much satisfied with the volunteer work that I’m able to do for the school district as a school board member,” Cochrane said. “I also feel like we as a board have done some things financially that have really put the district in a sound financial situation. I’m just excited to continue to be a part of the educational process, if I’m able to do so.”

Williams, a retired truck driver, said he has the time to devote to the job.

“I’d like to see education and safety stay top quality in the district,” he said.