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

Iowa City voters elect Abraham, Eastham, Lingo, and Williams for Iowa City school board seats

Incumbents Lisa Williams, Charlie Eastham, and Molly Abraham reclaimed three of the four seats up for reelection.
Iowa City School Board candidate Mitchell Lingo talks with supporters while waiting for results at his Iowa City Council Candidate Josh Moe’s watch party at Big Grove Brewery in Iowa City on Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2023. (Emily Nyberg/The Daily Iowan)

Molly Abraham, Charlie Eastham, Mitchell Lingo, and Lisa Williams gathered at Big Grove Brewery in Iowa City Tuesday as they awaited their election results surrounded by friends and family. The room was buzzing with chatter as people enjoyed food and drinks with the candidates and kids ran around playing shuffleboard and other games.

Abraham received 12,468 votes, Eastham 11,137, Lingo 11,154, and Williams 12,135.

The other candidates were Micah Broekemeier, Robert Decker, and Jacob Onken, who all lost in the election receiving 2,633, 2,038, and 1,872 votes, respectively.

The crowd erupted with applause for the candidates as results began rolling in Tuesday night on the big screen. Eyes were glued to the TV for the rest of the evening as attendees intently waited on the final votes.

All three incumbents — Abraham, Eastham, and Williams — reclaimed their seats on the Iowa City Community School District Board and will be joined by newcomer Lingo. All four candidates were endorsed by the Iowa City Education Association.

J.P. Claussen and Jayne Finch were in attendance to support the incumbent candidates and Lingo. Former board member Maka Pilcher-Hayek was also at the party to watch alongside her colleagues.

Pilcher-Hayek has three children enrolled in Iowa City schools and said she is passionate about Tuesday’s winner for the sake of her children’s education and all of the 14,500 students in the district.

“What we look for in school board candidates are people that are going to be committed to education,” she said. “Our main focus is to be about providing the best educational environment and the district has shown that it’s totally committed to figuring out ways to make the most out of what we get.”

Former Iowa City Mayor Jim Throgmorton said Tuesday that he voted for Abraham, Lingo, Eastham, and Williams because state governments have “gone off the wrong track” toward public schools and what students should be exposed to.

“It’s a really important shift in local politics,” he said. “School boards in other parts of the country have been taken over by white Christian nationalists and that could happen here. I think there’s a clear choice.”

University of Iowa second-year student Mitchell Brinkmeyer said at the polls that Abraham and Eastham positively caught his eye as a first-time voter.

All four winners have been referred to as the “W.A.L.E” group — an acronym based on their last names — and all were confident in their odds tonight and their predictions turned out to be true. Lingo even gave himself a “95 percent chance” of securing a seat after his first campaign for public office, he said. Tuesday.

Molly Abraham

After being appointed in 2022, Abraham had never had to campaign for a school board position.

“Campaigning wasn’t something I thought I was gonna do,” Abraham said. “I’m just happy to have the results and go forward.”

Abraham worked at West High School as a special education teacher for 18 years and 20 years as an assistant principal. Now she will continue to serve the ICCSD for another four years.

“We just have to keep working on equity of access for everybody,” the incumbent said. “We’ve made progress and we’ll keep moving forward.”

Charlie Eastham

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

Eastham is excited to continue to serve on the ICCSD board and emphasizes serving the students above all.

“I’m looking forward to continuing to work on the district’s more pressing issues and the things we’ve been working on for the last four years,” the candidate said. “Before that comes our equity goals and responding to the state’s assault on LGBTQ+ students.”

Mitchell Lingo

Mitchell Lingo has made it out of his first election victorious and will be the only newcomer on the ICCSD board.

Lingo has a strong background in data and analytics which the rest of the board members admire him for.

“I’ve known Mitch a long time,” Eastham said. “He’s very data-oriented and knows how to interpret it. That’s going to help us a lot.”

Lingo intends to “hit the ground running” now that he’s elected and has many goals for his term on the board. With a background in policy of educational finance, especially in K-12 education, he’s focused on beginning to form connections with other board members and people in the community.

“The big thing for me is trying to keep the district as competitive as possible with vouchers coming in and the way that it starts to take funding from public schools,” Lingo said.

Lisa Williams

ICCSD board Vice President Lisa Williams says she will continue to fight for universal pre-kindergarten as she serves another four-year term. Also working for the Department of Justice as a federal criminal prosecutor, she plans to fight state-enacted legislation that attacks the district’s most vulnerable students.

“It’s such a privilege to be able to serve the community again and do work that I think is meaningful and touching,” the incumbent said. “I think it’s a tremendous night for public education that is shown by voters rejecting extremist candidates that don’t hold the values we hold dear.”

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About the Contributor
Grace Olson
Grace Olson, News Reporter
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.