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Brainerd School Board race expands to seven contenders

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news Brainerd, 56401
Brainerd MN 506 James St. / PO Box 974 56401

Two more jumped in the running for three open seats on the Brainerd School Board up for election in November, with Sue Kern and Bob Passi filing their intent to run on Friday.

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Kern, a 1974 graduate from Brainerd High School and lifelong resident of Brainerd, said being a part of the system through her three kids on the sidelines wasn’t enough. She wanted to get involved directly.

“I want to help in the decision making process,” said Kern, who has three kids ages 38, 28 and 14, with the 14-year-old entering his freshman year at BHS this school year. “I know what goes on in the school system with my three children being a part of district 181 but I want to be a part of what makes that work.

“And I’d like to see better values and improvements in the system.”

The 55-year-old worked on and off as a nurse over the years, earning her certificate as a resident nurse from Central Lakes College.

She said through that nursing profession and years of doing financial records as treasurer of the Christian Women’s Club, she feels she can get the job done on the financial end.

Kern currently resides in Brainerd with her husband, Doug.

A longtime figure in education that Passi said, “runs in the family,” the 71-year-old retiree decided he wanted to give back and the school board presented the perfect opportunity.

“Our family has been involved with education our whole life,” said Passi, who relocated to Brainerd with his wife, Beth, seven years ago after stints in New York City, Denmark, California, Michigan and the Twin Cities. “I understand education from a lot of perspectives. And now that I am retired, I thought it was time to give back. I have something to offer and I can understand and solve the problems at hand.”

Passi earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota in English and Humanities, followed by a Masters from Minnesota State-Mankato in secondary education before finally completing a Ph.D. from the U of M in adult education.

A father to two adult children and grandfather to three, Passi said that healthy public education is crucial to a workable democracy. He added that with his background experience of education at a variety of levels, in different locations and in both the public and private sectors he has “broad perspective to the issues of education” and a lot to offer.

Kern and Passi join Kari Green, Sally Jacobsen, Bruce McComas, Maurice Olson and Bob Nystrom in the race for school board election.

Jim Hunt, Reed Campbell and Kent Montgomery have terms that expire on Dec. 31, 2012. Hunt announced that he will not run for re-election. Campbell and Montgomery have not filed for re-election or announced their intentions to run.

Candidates can file for school board election until 5 p.m. on Aug. 14, with the general election conducted on Nov. 6. Affidavits of candidacy are available at the school district office at 804 Oak St. The filing fee is $2 and candidates must be 21 years of age or more on assuming office date, must have been a district resident for 30 days before the general election and must have no other affidavit on file for any other office in the same general election.

JESSI PIERCE, staff writer, may be reached at 855-5859 or jessi.pierce@brainerddispatch.com. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jessi_pierce (@jessi_pierce).

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