The race for two citywide school board seats in Minneapolis suddenly got much more intriguing Tuesday with late filings by former City Council Member Don Samuels and another candidate likely to be backed by those who style themselves school reformers.
Samuels and Andrew Minck filed on the last day, swelling the field to seven candidates. Also running are DFL endorsees Rebecca Gagnon, an incumbent, and Iris Altamirano, plus three lesser-known candidates, Ira Jourdain, Doug Mann and Soren Sorensen.
Samuels had said several months ago that he was interested in running, but only if he had a job that permitted him the time needed to serve. He could not immediately be reached for comment Tuesday night.
Minck and Jourdain competed for at-large DFL endorsement at the party’s late April convention. Minck finished last, and Jourdain finished third in balloting.
Minck is an administrator for Teach for America, a former charter school administrator and a onetime Teach for America teacher. Minck and Samuels are likely to draw support from the same forces who helped current Board Member Josh Reimnitz set a spending record for a school race for a district seat in 2012. Samuels ran for mayor with a campaign plank of reforming schools.
One of the three district seats to be filled this election also got a contest when Jay Larson joined Nelson Inz in seeking the Nokomis area seat now held by Alberto Monserrate. Inz beat Larson decisively for party endorsement earlier this year. Inz is a charter school teacher, while Larson has been a parent activist at Lake Nokomis Community School and at the district level.
Unopposed are incumbent Jenny Arneson for an East Side seat and newcomer Siad Ali for a seat in the city’s eastern neighborhoods.