Nicki Linsten-Lodge wins Pine River-Backus School Board write-in race

Linsten-Lodge ran campaign on Facebook

Nicki Linsten-Lodge.jpg
Nicki Linsten-Lodge has been elected the newest board member on the Pine River-Backus School Board as of Nov. 8, 2022 Election Day.

PINE RIVER โ€” Nicki Linsten-Lodge won a write-in campaign for an open four-year seat on the Pine River-Backus School Board.

"I'm very excited," Linsten-Lodge said. "I don't know another word to explain it. I'm really looking forward to joining the team that's already in existence. I think they're doing a great job and I'm excited to be part of the work."

Three incumbents filed for four open school board seats, leaving the fourth seat to a write-in candidate. Incumbent Katy Botz opted not to seek reelection.

There were 483 write-in votes. Linsten-Lodge received 290 of those votes.

She announced her candidacy via Facebook on Oct. 3. Friends and family elevated her to victory by sharing the announcement and promoting her.


Linsten-Lodge had thought about throwing her hat in the ring before the filing deadline, but she didn't want to compete with current board members seeking reelection or possibly take one of their seats at the table.

"I had thought about it previously, before the filing date had expired," Linsten-Lodge said. "You always wonder if it's a good time with other things going on in life. Then when I saw the information that there hadn't been anyone that filed for that open spot, it made me think about it again."

Linsten-Lodge may be familiar to families in the area due to her past work with local children. Twenty years ago she started work at Backus Head Start, where she often worked alongside the school. She eventually took a position in family service with Pine River-Backus Elementary School.

Today she is the regional prevention coordinator at the Pine River-Backus Family Center.

Linsten-Lodge has one child who is a Pine River-Backus graduate and one student still in the school district.

She hopes to learn from current board members.

"I've been told school boards are not always as people see them on the outside," Linsten-Lodge said. "I'm excited to just learn how a school board functions and what school board members can be involved with and what the parameters are. In my career starting in Head Start 20 years ago, when things had been decided or talked about, the question I always asked was, 'How does this affect the kids and families in our program or service area?' I feel like I want to keep that same perspective."

Leslie Bouchonville
Leslie Bouchonville
Wanda Carlson
Wanda Carlson

Returning to the board will be incumbents Leslie Bouchonville (first elected in a special election in 2016) with 1,821 votes; Wanda Carlson (first elected in 2018) with 1,930 votes; and Ryan Trumble (first elected in 2018) with 2,172 votes.


Botz fulfilled four full terms and one partial term on the board, often serving as treasurer.

Ryan Trumble

Travis Grimler, staff writer, may be reached at 218-855-5853 or . Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter at

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