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Published April 09 2010

8 in race for West Fargo School Board

A West Fargo businessman who led opposition last month to the school district’s building referendum is running for a seat on the School Board.

Dave Olson filed to run for one of four open spots on the seven-member board. Eight people are now vying for election as of Thursday.

“I was outspoken because I didn’t want to waste taxpayers’ money,” Olson said Thursday. “I wanted to protect the financial integrity of the district. I’m still for new schools – but for ones I think are for immediate need.”

If elected, the 42-year-old general manager of Lileks Oil Co. said he’d bring fiscal responsibility to the board.

“I would (also) like to bring good quality education for our students and … a higher level of transparency and credibility for the School Board,” he said. “I’m doing this because I care very deeply for the West Fargo School District and the community.”

Joining him in the race are DJ Colter, Jenny Durbin, Rhonda Hawley and Janel Simonson.

Colter, 33, a business owner and insurance agent with American Family insurance, said that, if elected, he’d listen and help “make good business-savvy decisions.”

“I feel I have a background and experience that can benefit the school district,” he added.

Durbin, 33, an executive assistant with Tharaldson, has worked with and led the Eastwood Elementary PTA for six years.

“I think I could bring great communication skills,” she said, adding about new leadership: “I think we could bring positive change.”

Hawley, 39, a software consultant with Summit Group Software, said she’d advocate for arts education and special needs students.

“I want to make sure they don’t get lost in the system,” she said. “I view myself as a listener, but I’m able to take that to the next level and act on a solution.”

Simonson, 47, a counselor at Horizon Middle School in Moorhead, said she hopes to bring a new perspective to the board.

“With my experience, I could be a fresh pair of eyes, a fresh pair of ears to … the West Fargo School District,” she said. “A fresh vision is maybe what they need.”

Along with West Fargo resident Mark Akers, 49, who filed earlier this week, they’re running against incumbents Karen Nitzkorski and Angela Korsmo.

Today is the deadline to file to be on the June 8 ballot.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Kelly Smith at (701) 241-5515