Three incumbents, one new face ready to take seats on 834 School BoardThe District 834 School Board will have three familiar faces, and one new face, on the school board next year after the results of the Nov. 2 elections.
By: Amber Kispert-Smith, Woodbury Bulletin
The District 834 School Board will have three familiar faces, and one new face, on the school board next year after the results of the Nov. 2 elections.
Incumbents George Hoeppner, Natalie Fedie and Natasha Fleischman have all been re-elected to the District 834 School Board, additionally challenger Tom Lehmann has earned a seat.
Incumbent Scott Papke did not generate enough votes to be re-elected.
“It’s always surprising when you lose an incumbent and a good board member,” District 834 superintendent Tom Nelson said. “But, (Lehmann) has shown a willingness to learn what some of our significant issues are.
“The end result is that the people get to decide and you move forward.”
The four incumbents said they gathered together at Meister Bar and Grill, in Stillwater, to watch the results roll in.
Hoeppner, of Oak Park Heights, led the race with 21.24 percent.
“We’ve got a number of things that are just beginning and there’s some things that I would have hated to leave in the middle,” he said. “I am looking forward to being able to move forward.”
In second was Fedie, of West Lakeland Township, with 20.40 percent.
“I’m thrilled to be re-elected because we have a lot of work to do and it’s exciting to move forward,” Fedie said.
In third was Lehmann, of West Lakeland Township, with 20.31 percent.
“The election was kind of exciting because this was my first time ever running for public office,” he said. “I was obviously happy with the results.”
Fleischman, of Lake Elmo, earned the fourth seat with 19.06 percent.
Fleischman said she went to bed prior to the results, so her husband who is a baker woke her up at 4 a.m. to tell her the news.
“The results never come in as quickly as you want them to,” she said. “I’m very thankful to be able to follow through with what we have been working on.”
The three incumbents said it was surprising that Papke was not able to maintain his seat.
“It’s an interesting twist of fate,” Fedie said.
“We were very surprised,” Fleischman said. “(Papke) has been a very dedicated board member and we are going to miss him greatly.
Lehmann, the sole challenger, said he knew it was going to be challenging going up against four incumbents.
“I knew it would be a challenge going up against four incumbents, so you have to get your name out there because there’s not name recognition,” he said.
Lehmann said it is very rewarding to know that the residents of District 834 have such confidence in him.
“It was really gratifying,” he said. “It’s also an eye opener that there are a lot of people who will be looking at you to make sure they made the right choice.”
The incumbents said they are looking forward to working with Lehmann on developing the district’s Vision 2014.
“We’ll be looking to what we need to do to make District 834 a better place,” Fleischman said.
“The addition of Tom Lehmann will be an asset,” Fedie said. “He will bring another dynamic set of professional perspectives to the mix — it will be a great next term.”