Five candidates file for three open spots in Eden Prairie school board election

Eden Prairie schoolsFive candidates have filed to run for three open seats on the Eden Prairie School Board.

The candidates are Holly Link, current School Board Chair Ranee Jacobus, Elaine Larabee, Tim Laurie and Murshid Barud.

Link, a 15-year Eden Prairie resident, is a member of the Eden Prairie Schools Core Planning Team, which drafted the Eden Prairie School District 2013-2018 Strategic Plan.

“The Strategic Plan was developed by a group of over 100 diverse and impassioned community members coming to consensus about the future of teaching and learning in Eden Prairie,” Link said. “I am committed to bringing this plan into reality for our community. Being on the school board is the next level of service toward that end.”

As a strategic training and project manager for a nonprofit health insurance company, Link says she has a broad perspective on large-scale change. She is currently enrolled in the University of Minnesota’s Doctoral Program in Organizational Leadership, Policy and Development. She also has more than 13 years of teaching experience in private and public schools, and five years of corporate training development expertise. Link and her husband, Brian, have two children who graduated from Eden Prairie High School.

Murshid Barud, a 12-year Eden Prairie resident originally from Somalia, works as a manufacturing planner at Emerson Process Management. Barud said he is especially concerned about adressing the achievement gap and helping students who are lagging behind.

“I see a big need for a different face and voice,” Barud said. “I want to bring new ideas to the table.”

Fiscal responsibility and an emphasis on science, technology and math are also of major importance to Barud. He also said he would like to encourage parental involvement in the district. Barud has five children, and three attend Eden Prairie Schools.

Elaine Larabee, a 16-year resident of Eden Prairie, is a tax manager for a firm in St. Louis Park. Larabee is no stranger to the district having served on the PTO for many years and as the president for the last two years. She hopes, if elected, this new role will allow her to become even more involved in the schools.

“I want to continue my involvement in the community,” Larabee said. “Strong public schools make for strong communities.”

Larabee and her husband, Kevin, have two children who have attended Eden Prairie Schools, one of which is currently attending EPHS.

Tim Laurie could not be reached in time for comment, as he filed during the last day of the filing period.

Jacobus and Boardmembers Suzanne Kutina and Chuck Mueller all face the end of their current terms in January 2014. All three were elected in November 2009.

Jacobus, a 25-year resident of Eden Prairie, says she looks forward to helping the superintendent and staff set up new programs if re-elected, including the Mosiac Gifted and Talented program.

“I want to be there to help assist our new superintendent and staff with the new things they’re trying to do,” Jacobus said. “We’ve made many positive changes and I want continue to do that to increase the reputation and quality of education at our schools.”
Jacobus has four children who have attended Eden Prairie Schools.

Kutina does not plan to run again, but says she feels very confident in the current board and staff.

Mueller, who currently serves as school board treasurer, also did not file for re-election.
The filing period for the November 2013 School Board election July 30 and went through Aug. 13. During this election, three members will be elected to the school board, each for a four-year term. A candidate for the school board must meet the following qualifications:

• Be at least 21 years old at the time the term of office begins
• Have resided in the school district for 30 days prior to the election
• Be an eligible voter, which includes the requirement that the individual be a citizen of the United States

For further information about school board elections, contact Laurie Hemstock at lhemstock@edenpr.org or call 952-975-7072.

Contact Natalie Conrad at natalie.conrad@ecm-inc.com.

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