School Board member-elect who didn't campaign says she will take seatMichelle Yener tried unsuccessfully to withdraw her name from the race and said she was not campaigning, but she was elected to the 622 School Board anyway.
By: Amber Kispert-Smith, Woodbury Bulletin
District 622 will have two new faces, one familiar, on the School Board next year after the results of the Nov. 2 elections.
Incumbent Mark Wheeler, re-elected to a third term, and challengers Amy Coborn and Michelle Yener have each earned a seat out of the eight candidates who ran.
Coborn, of North St. Paul, came in first with 24.08 percent of the vote.
“It was really fun to watch the results come in,” she said. “I worked really hard so I was very happy to see that it paid off.
Wheeler, who campaigned with Coborn, said he is very excited to work with her.
“(Coborn) definitely has some excellent qualifications,” he said. “I was glad that Amy Coborn was elected because she’s going to be a great board member — she’s smart, she’s hard working and she has a background in education.”
Wheeler, of Oakdale, came in second with 17.99 percent of the vote.
“I took my own re-election to mean that people were happy with the job I am doing,” he said. “I am glad that they were willing to sign me back up.”
The third school board seat will go to Yener, of Maplewood, with 12.93 percent of the vote. However, immediately after the election, it was unclear if Yener was going to serve or not.
Yener had previously stated that she did not have an active campaign and had essentially withdrawn her candidacy.
However, the Woodbury Bulletin caught up with Yener and she said that she is going to serve.
Yener said she had previously withdrawn her candidacy because she was uncomfortable with how political the race had grown.
“I was uncomfortable with how political it seemed,” she said. “I’m interested in the schools, not the politics.”
Yener could not be removed from the ballot because she decided to withdraw after the withdrawal period had passed, District 622 elections coordinator Pam Pariana said.
Coborn and Pariana said it is not uncommon for voters to simply vote based on the name.
“It’s unfortunate that people vote blindly like that,” Coborn said. “But, what can you do.”
If Yener had chosen not to serve, the District 622 School Board would have had to appoint a board member, Pariana said.
Even though the results were quite surprising, Yener said she is looking forward to being able to work on the issues facing the school.
Yener, who works in academic quality insurance for online Capella University, said she is concerned with the district’s communication with parents and the district’s achievement, primarily No Child Left Behind.
Yener currently has three children attending school in the district.
“I got to avoid the politics, but now I get to work on the school issues,” she said. “Now I’m going to have the opportunity to contribute.
“I don’t know where my skills will fit in, but I’m happy with the results and I hope I can make a positive contribution.”