Meet the Candidates for the Roseau School Board
September 3, 2022
by Jeff Olsen
A total of four candidates filed for the three open seats with incumbent Tim Fugleberg choosing not to refile.
The filing fee was $2 for the opportunity to serve the school district.
Mr. Kvien was appointed in 2017 to fill the remainder of Zach Swanson's term for one year and then was elected in 2018.
He has been the board chair ever since.
How tough a job is it?
"It depends on the day. Some days are really enjoyable, fun and encouraging. Other days are brutal, and I wonder why on earth I'm on the board."
On the whole, he enjoys it, commenting on the great community support for the building project.
"The referendum passed by almost 75 percent," he said, adding that there are other days when it seems like the board is doing nothing right.
"We have people after us, people yelling, phone calls and emails, and people at the meetings."
It's been an eye-opener.
"For the most part, it's hard to go anywhere without somebody bringing up the school, whether it's positive or negative. You can't get away from it."
So, why run for reelection?
"I just feel we have too much unfinished business and on-going projects."
He explained that the building project was supposed to be completed this fall.
"And now, it's going to be in late fall around freezing time before we get into the Math Wing. Then, it's going to be spring before we're done."
There have been delays. They couldn't get window frames or workers.
"We got flagged as a Covid hot spot last winter, and they shut down the whole work site. I thought we were going to be done by now. That was the plan. I just feel like I have unfinished business, and I need to stay on to get all these things done."
His decision to refile was not made quickly. His children and wife, Lori, encouraged him to refile.
"We're just coming out of the pandemic, and that was brutal on the school board. When I do get off the school board, I'd like to have a more positive experience as I leave."
So, it's been tough?
"The pandemic has been brutal. I have lost friends, I have family members that I probably will never talk to again because of the way things went and the way they thought the school handled the pandemic," he said, emphasizing that the school board was required to stay within the law.
"And they didn't like it. They thought we were trying to kill kids. When we did our vaccination clinic, we gave space to LifeCare, and we were compared to having an on-site abortion clinic."
It had an effect on him.
"The hardest part for me was the people that I thought I should receive the most support from was family and friends and people realizing what we were going through. And they were some of the worst. I guess you find out who your friends are."
He's still upbeat.
"Morale is coming up at the school," he said.
The 1999 RHS graduate is a long-time Roseau County employee.
"I worked in the jail for seven years as a dispatcher and jailer," she said, adding that she's been with Social Services in the Financial Department since 2014.
"I would really like to get more involved with the school and the community. As a whole, the community means everything to me. I was born and raised here. My kids are here, my husband, Matt, is a farmer, and we're not going anywhere."
Heather noted that community and school go hand-in-hand.
"I'm always the person who just believes the community shapes your kids. I have two kids in school and one has graduated."
She remarked that she appreciates the veterans.
"I think we should always honor them. I loved that we used to have that at the school. Bringing that back is important so students can see what the veterans have done for us."
Her daughters, Hallee, a sophomore, and Maddee, a freshman, are involved in sports.
"I also believe that academics have to come first," she said, adding that she is involved in 4-H.
"I'm on the executive committee and the leader of our 4-H group. I work with youth all the time. They're our future. If you show a good example, they will show good examples."
She added that she wants to do what is best for students, teachers, and the community as a whole.
"I'm a person who always believes if you don't listen, you're not going to get good suggestions. I'm here to listen."
She stated that a person can't make changes unless he or she steps forward.
"I believe the public should be more informed on what is going on with the building project and where our money is going. Once a month put it out there so the public knows. We just want an update."
Mr. Cummings attended Northland Community & Technical College in TRF for two years earning his associate's degree.
"I earned my bachelor's at Northwestern College in St. Paul, and I work in Engineering at Polaris."
His two sons attend Roseau High School.
Both are involved in activities. Wyatt is going into tenth grade and Owen is going into eighth grade.
"My wife, Adele, works at Citizens State Bank, and we moved up here almost nine years ago."
What enticed him to file, he explained, is his interest in education and extracurriculars.
"I told Mr. Jerome when I met with him that I don't have any single burning issue that I want to get on the school board to do," he said, adding that he just feels that it's his civic duty to give back to the community.
"One of the ways I can do that is being involved on the school board because we enjoy the activities and the school."
They attend athletic events that their sons aren't involved in like volleyball and basketball.
"We like to be supportive."
Mr. Cummings is excited about the opportunity to be a contributing school board member.
"I just want to be involved and be supportive of shaping the direction and involvement of our school."
He remarked that his sons benefit from a good school and fine extracurricular programs.
"Wyatt is in trap and he's in Jazz Band, Knowledge Bowl and Student Council. Owen is in football, wrestling and Jazz Band, and they keep us busy."
Mr. Cummings, a graduate of Frazee High School, wrestled for Clay Nagel, a Hall of Fame coach.
"Clay was a great coach, probably my favorite coach of all."
He then talked about the new school construction.
"I'm really excited to see the finished product. Obviously, a lot of hard work has gone into it."
The Warroad High School graduate and daughter of former RHS graduate Mike Kvarnlov, is wrapping up her first term on the board.
She noted that it has been a challenge, beginning with whether to fix or rebuild the school.
"That included designing the school. Then Covid hit and we had to pass a referendum. It passed. Then we had the challenges of building the school."
There were some challenges along the way.
"Overall, I've enjoyed it, it's been exciting and a learning process for me."
Yes, she had thought about whether she should refile.
"Being on a board is tough work. There are times when, on a board, you have to make some tough decisions, and they don't always feel good."
But, she noted, there are days when they make decisions and have that feel-good moment.
"It's finding that balance. Again, if you can keep what is best for our students and staff, you find you can make the right decision."
She described herself as a people pleaser, and there are times when it's impossible to make everyone happy.
"And you never know what's coming at you. It's a tough job and I'm constantly learning."
She commented on the dynamics of the board as being very vocal.
"That's why our meetings go so long. We really discuss an issue. We do some research, trying to understand what the concern is and how to best problem solve that concern."
She noted that her son, Jack, is a senior.
"That was one of the biggest things for me to run again. I'm passionate about the school because I have a child still in it."
Jodee has been on the board through the successful referendum and the planning stages of the new school construction.
"I'm so excited for our kids and our future kids, where they get to go to school, and learn and make memories. The end result is going to be great."
"I decided not to run for another term," he said, adding that he served one three-year term.
"It was one, but it felt like two," he said, lightly laughing.
That is an acknowledgement that serving on the school board is no walk in the park.
But he highlighted the rewards.
"You get to see the inner workings of the school. I was a student, a teacher, and I'm a parent of kids in the school. So, I've seen a lot of different sides, but there are still things you don't see until you get involved at that level."
He remarked that he served during an abnormal term with both the pandemic and the building project.
"If you're really spending the time to keep your ear to the ground and talking with different people in the school to know what's going on, it takes a lot of time."
Fugleberg, a financial advisor, is a 2005 RHS graduate.
What surprised you?
"You definitely have to be willing to take criticism and make tough decisions. If you can't do that, you should avoid it," he said, adding that not all the decisions were easy.
"And you don't always 100 percent know what the right decision is. Covid isn't something you can predict."
With all that, he stated that serving on the school board was rewarding and complimented the community for their support of the new school project.
"I was able to be a part of that. So, there are a lot of enjoyable parts of it. There are a lot of good people working in the school. There are things I wish I could be there for, but it's a busy stage in my life with three young sons and working full-time. Another big part of it is, our pastor recently announced that he's taking a call in another church, and I'm a deacon.”