The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Meet the seven candidates for the Nov. 7 election for ICCSD school board

Three incumbents and four newcomers are running for one of four open seats.
Polling+booths+are+seen+during+early+voting+at+the+Johnson+County+Auditor%E2%80%99s+Office+in+Iowa+City+on+Wednesday%2C+Oct.+25%2C+2023.+Early+voting+ends+on+Tuesday%2C+Nov.+6.+
Sahithi Shankaiahgari
Polling booths are seen during early voting at the Johnson County Auditor’s Office in Iowa City on Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2023. Early voting ends on Tuesday, Nov. 6.

Seven candidates are vying for four open seats on the Iowa City Community School District’s school board election on Nov. 7.

The seven candidates, three of them incumbents and four of them newcomers, are running for the district. Unlike the Iowa City City Council election, also occurring on Nov. 7, candidates are not split into districts based on where they live. Instead, all the candidates are being elected to equivalent at-large positions.

Incumbents

Molly Abraham

Molly Abraham worked at Iowa City schools at West High School as a special education teacher for 18 years and 20 years as an assistant principal. Although she is retired, she said she couldn’t stay away from working in education and is running for Iowa City School District School Board for the first time after replacing Shawn Eyestone in 2022.

Abraham wrote in a newsletter to her voters that her main goals are to ensure equity in access to high quality instruction and top-notch facilities for all students, retention and recruitment of diverse and highly qualified staff, commitment to the supports and services provided to students with individualized education programs and section 504 plans, and the realization of dynamic programming at the ICCSD Center for Innovation.

Charlie Eastham

School board incumbent Charlie Eastham has lived in Iowa City for over 50 years and watched his children grow up in the ICCSD. Since becoming a board member, Eastham said he has been committed to diversity and equity for all students regarding education and disciplinary action.

If reelected, Eastham aims to resolve retention issues the district is facing among teachers and other staff. He wants to see the board be more receptive to comments from teachers about why they chose to leave the district so that their issues can be resolved going forward. Eastham believes one of the most important issues to tackle is creating post-graduation opportunities for students to pursue employment or technical paths.

Lisa Williams

Fourth generation Iowan Lisa Williams is the current vice president of the ICCSD Board. She attended Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, where she enrolled in the U.S. Army Reserves where she was called into active duty, and later completed her law degree at the University of Iowa. She now works for the Department of Justice as a federal criminal prosecutor and lives in Iowa City with her family.

Upon reelection, Williams said she aims to lessen the opportunity gap between students in the district by ensuring universal pre-Kindergarten. She also plans to fight state enacted legislation that attacks the district’s most vulnerable students.

Newcomers

Micah Broekemeier

Current UI student and ICCSD student teacher Micah Broekemeier said he comes from a family of teachers that have propelled his desire to uphold the values of proper education. Broekemeier is a former Marine and is now working to receive a master’s in education from the UI College of Education.

If elected, he aims to improve local student safety, increase communication between teachers and parents, make the classroom experience more attentive by decreasing class sizes and hiring more teachers, provide post-graduate opportunities for those not choosing the college path, and using tax-payer money responsibly and transparently.

Robert Decker

North Liberty resident Robert Decker has three children enrolled in ICCSD schools and one who graduated from Liberty High School. Decker is an Army veteran and has a master’s degree in theology. Currently, he works with people who have physical and intellectual disabilities to ensure everyone receives the same educational opportunities.

According to Decker’s website, he is running for ICCSD  to make curriculum changes transparent to families, return curriculums “back to the basics” of reading, writing, and arithmetic, provide tools for success and steer away from victimhood, and ensure equity in education as well as the workplace. He also believes climate change is not “confirmed science,” and that schools must teach both sides of the issue, according to his site.

Mitchell Lingo

Mitchell Lingo formerly worked as a middle school teacher in Omaha, Nebraska, moving to Iowa City in 2014 where he now researches post-secondary issues in the state of Iowa.

In an email to The Daily Iowan, Lingo wrote that one of the main reasons he is running is to ensure ICCSD remains a competitive district despite the state’s implementation of private school vouchers.

If elected, Lingo plans to provide universal pre-kindergarten for all families, providing secondary school offerings for all paths that students want to take, and complete transparency about curriculum and policy changes decided upon by the school board.

Jacob Onken

Jacob Onken is from Davenport, Iowa, and ran for the 89th district for the Iowa House of Representatives in last year’s election, but did not win.

In a question and answer session with the Cedar Rapids Gazette, Onken shared his ideas for improving public schools. He believes that taxpayers’ money should “follow the student” and be spent towards private or home schooling. Additionally, he discourages LGBTQ+ topics being discussed in schools because “students are too vulnerable for the information” and is against school bathrooms that don’t align with students’ birth-assigned genders.

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About the Contributor
Grace Olson, News Reporter
(she/her/hers)
Grace Olson is a first-year student at the University of Iowa majoring in Journalism and Mass Communications. She's a news reporter for The DI, reporting primarily on local government. She is from Denver, Colorado and worked on the pirnt publication from her high school prior to her work in college.