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4 candidates up for Brainerd School Board

Graphic from Minnesota School Board Association candidate guide booklet - 'Running for School Board'.

Two more candidates are on the ballot for the Brainerd School Board, bringing the grand total up to four, as of Friday, Aug. 3. Three spots are available on the board. Filing is open until Aug. 14, with the general election set Nov. 6.

Charles Black Lance

With three children in the Brainerd School District, Charles Black Lance wants to have a say in their education.

But having a horse in the race, so to speak, isn't the only reason he put his name on the school board ballot for the third time. Black Lance comes with 20 years of professional experience in the educational field. He started working with Itasca Community College in 1998 and since 2003 has been the director of TRIO programming at Central Lakes College.

"We work with nine area high schools ... with students from ninth to 12th grade, working with them in terms of academic support with tutoring and that type of thing," he said. "So I have a lot of experience partnering with secondary institutions."

Black Lance also directs student support services at CLC, where he provides academic support for college students, and is working on his doctorate in education.

"It's really important to me to make sure that we have a ... really experienced board member," he said.

Aside from professional experience, Black Lance said, as an American Indian, he brings unique personal experiences to the table as well.

"I think the school district has been run well, and I think we have a strong school board, but ultimately I just feel like I have something unique to contribute," he said.

If elected, Black Lance said he will make sure the board has a balanced viewpoint so it can support the education of students and bring the best possible teaching workforce to the district.

"I'm really happy with how our children have been taught," he said. "But I just feel called to help be a part of the Brainerd School District in this capacity ... and I'm going to continue pushing forward until I have that opportunity."

Tom Haglin

After serving on the school board for nine years, incumbent Tom Haglin hopes to continue working on the projects that came out of April's bond referendum.

"We've got the big building projects going underway, so I'd like to see that all the way through," he said. "Plus I want to see us put more emphasis and more focus on our student achievements and staff development."

Haglin said there are "many, many things" he is proud of accomplishing during his time on the board, especially long-range facilities planning.

"It's been a great accomplishment; it's something that I've been personally invested in for the last three years in all the various communities," Haglin said. "That's probably one of the largest accomplishments, something that really should have needed to be done many, many years ago."

If re-elected, finances will be a top priority on Haglin's agenda.

"Budget constraints are always a problem," he said. "So I want to be a driver of continuous improvement and taking any kind of waste out of our systems and process so that every dollar can be applied toward student success and staff development."

Current board chair Ruth Nelson and district parent Matthew Avery filed earlier.