Reimnitz, Wycoff should advance from District 4 race.
Today's endorsements address one of the four Minneapolis School Board Aug. 14 primary races in which DFL endorsees are generally expected to win. In the District 4 primary, three candidates are running, and no one has yet received the party's endorsement.
This year marks the completion of a phased-in reconfiguration of the board, the elected governing body that oversees the 32,000-student, $650 million school district. The board, which previously was composed of seven members elected citywide, will now have nine members -- three elected at large and six from districts.
In November, voters will elect members to fill four of those nine spots. Next week, citizens will vote in competitive primary races for one at-large seat and the race in District 4, which includes the downtown, Isles and Bryn Mawr neighborhoods.
During the DFL endorsing meeting in May, the party chose city employee Darrell Washington in District 4. But just before the candidate filing period closed, Washington dropped out because of rules that limit public employee involvement in partisan politics.
As a result, Josh Reimnitz, a nonprofit director who came in second in the endorsement race, was the only candidate for several days. At the 11th hour, William Lange and Patty Wycoff filed to run against him. Two of the three will advance to the Nov. 6 election.
District 4: Josh Reimnitz and Patty Wycoff
If enthusiasm were the deciding factor, the 26-year-old Reimnitz would win hands down. A former teacher who now helps lead a national organization that focuses on developing student leaders, he's passionate about improving student learning.
The North Dakota native was student body president at North Dakota State University and interned in Washington, D.C., with Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D. While there, he joined the Teach for America program, and he chose to teach inner-city fourth-graders for two years in Atlanta. In 2010, he moved to Minneapolis to work for Students Today Leaders Forever.
Bright and well-versed on education issues, Reimnitz emphasizes a rigorous curriculum, strong leadership and solid relationships with district stakeholders to improve learning. His teaching experience with disadvantaged students helped him develop good ideas for addressing the achievement gap. He is endorsed by three former school board chairs, by the Stonewall DFL group and by Mayor R.T. Rybak.
Patty Wycoff, 43, is a longtime resident of the Bryn Mawr neighborhood and works as a part-time organizer for her neighborhood association. A graduate of Winona State, she has done substitute teaching in Minneapolis and Richfield and has two children in public schools -- one in Minneapolis and the other at FAIR Crystal.
Wycoff is also an energetic advocate for improving education and building relationships in her community and throughout the city. She has been a volunteer and organizer for a dozen groups, including her school PTO, youth sports and a local business association. She says that district leaders could do a better job communicating with constituents and involving parents in major decisions. She would focus on early childhood education and smaller class sizes to address the achievement gap. She also thinks the district should reduce the number of initiatives and programs it starts and focus on those that show results.
Lange, 23, is a Twin Cities native and a DeLaSalle High School alumnus and a recent graduate of Concordia University in St. Paul. Lange sees board service as a way to "give back'' to the community, but he needs more life, professional and community experience before becoming an elected official.
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Also on the primary ballot next week will be four candidates for an at-large seat. Incumbent Carla Bates is running for re-election, along with challengers Doug Mann, Willis G. Trueblood and Janice Mae Harmon. The Editorial Board chose not to screen those candidates in this round but will make an endorsement in the fall.
Also running in Districts 2 and 6, respectively, are Kim Ellison and Tracine Asberry. Because they are unopposed, their names will not appear on primary ballots.
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