USD 383 school board elects positions

Herman President, Edie VP in 4-3 vote

Kris Long, Print Editor-in-Chief

Curt Herman and Darrell Edie were elected USD 383 School Board President and Vice President respectively in the meeting on Wednesday, defeating former Vice President Kristen Brighton for President and Karla Hagemeister for Vice President.

Herman will replace previous President Jurdene Coleman who did not run for reelection and is no longer on the board. 

The 4-3 vote was split the same way for both candidates: Herman, Edie, Brady Santos, and new member Christine Weixelman voted for Herman and Edie while Kristen Brighton, Karla Hagemiester and new member Jayme Morris-Hardeman voted for the losing candidates.

This term will be Herman’s third time as board president in his 15 years on the USD 383 Board of Education, where as president he passed the bond issue in 2018. Herman has taken centrist  positions during his tenure on the board. He does not support changing the Indian mascot at Manhattan High, but has consistently voted with the liberal side of the board on COVID-19 safety regulations.

“I think last year we really kind of got sidetracked, to no fault of the board,” Herman said. “We had the CRT thing come up in April, we’ve had these mask things that we’ve been battling with and we really had a kind of contentious election… I think the Indian mascot thing came up too many times and that land acknowledgment…I want to try and focus this back on educating our kids because that’s what we’re here for, not to fight and argue about masks.”

Edie was board President in 2016 and decided to run for Vice President because he hopes to become President next year — the last year of his term. Edie has one of the more conseravtive records on the board, voting against the transgender student guidelines in 2019, opposing changing the MHS Indian mascot and consistently voting against COVID-19 mitigation methods. 

“I’m more on the right, I guess you’d call it more conservative,” Edie said. “But, at the same time, [Herman] and I have both been on the board long enough that first and foremost is students and teachers. I mean, forget the political stuff… that really is our agenda.”

Despite the emphasis put on unity, the vote was split across partisan lines. Board members with conservative records or campaigns sided with Herman and Edie, out voting the more liberal Brighton and Hagemeister. Herman hopes to bring the board back from the split with his leadership.

“That’s one of my things that I think I’m really good at, uniting people,” Herman said. “We’ll work together as a team and I think we all want what’s best for kids. And that’s the whole thing, as long as we stay focused on that, that’s what’s important.”