Voters pushed decidedly for new starts on the Minneapolis school board Tuesday, sending fresh faces to fill a third of the positions next year.
They selected Bob Walser from the East Isles/Bryn Mawr/downtown District 4 and Ira Jourdain of southwest District 6 over incumbent board members Josh Reimnitz and Tracine Asberry.
Kim Ellison kept a spot on the board by soaring over opponent Doug Mann for a citywide seat, and at press time, KerryJo Felder appeared likely to narrowly defeat Kimberly Caprini for north Minneapolis’ District 2 seat.
The candidates knocked on doors and rattled off talking points in school board forums just as new Superintendent Ed Graff gained footing in the district this fall.
The board previously grappled with a drawn-out superintendent search and widespread concern about school board dysfunction.
The winners all were endorsed by the DFL and the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers.
In the District 6 race between Asberry and Jourdain, some voters said they wanted Jourdain because of his commitment to concerns including funding and overcrowding problems at Washburn High. Others liked Asberry’s focus on racial equity.
Contests touched on ways to communicate and foster equity despite racial disparities throughout the district.
Jourdain, who is American Indian, said after his win that he would talk about racial equity and “strong options for kids to be good learners.”
“A majority of voters just wanted a different hope and change on the board,” he added.
District 4’s race between Reimnitz and Walser pitted Reimnitz’s experience as a school board member — especially his priority to craft school board policy — against Walser’s pledge to value district relationships.
Walser said he’s ready to work to build agreement on the board.
“We got a new team together,” he said after his Tuesday win.