The race for two city-wide school board seats in Minneapolis suddenly got much more intriguing Tuesday with late filings by former 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 to swell the field to seven candidates for the rwo seats to be filled. 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 filing, but only if he had a job that permitted him to spare the time needed to serve. He could not immediately be reched for comment.
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. Both he and Samuels are likely to draw support from the same backers who helped 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 filed, joining Nelson Inz to seek the Nokomis area seat. Inz whipped Larson decisively for party endorsement. Inz is a charter school teacher, while Larson has been a parent activist at Lake Nokomis Community School and at the district level.
Unopposed for election are incumbent Jenny Arneson for an East Side seat, and newcomer Siad Ali for a seta in the city's eastern midsection.