All four incumbents are seeking reelection to the Mabel-Canton school board, but an additional candidate, Dustin Tollefsrud, is seeking to secure one of the four open seats as well. He is challenging current board members, Cristal Adkins, Chris Loppnow, Jeffrey Rein and Troy Soiney.
Cristal Adkins is a senior office support specialist for the Fillmore County Zoning Office and has three daughters, Shelby, Amy and Taylor. She has served on the board since July of 2004.
Chris Loppnow and her husband, Chad, have two children, Samantha, 16, and Dylan, 13. She is a business office manager at Gundersen Tweeten Care Center in Spring Grove. She is a member of the Mabel Business Association, helping to organize Steam Engine Days. She also volunteers to deliver groceries to Mabel residents and is a member of the Mabel-Canton Trailbusters Snowmobile Club. She has served on the board for the last four years.
Jeff Rein was appointed to the school board last October to fill Dave Swenson’s term following his resignation for the board. He and his wife, Ashley, have two children.
Troy Soiney and his wife, Trisha, have three children, Kaylor, 11, Kaiser, 9, and Kinley, 7. He is self-employed in farming and trucking. Soiney has served on the Mabel-Canton School Board for nine years and often volunteers to give horse-drawn wagon rides for Santa Day in Canton and Mabel. He and his family are members of the Burr Oak Lutheran Church.
Dustin Tollefsrud and his wife, Kayla, have three children, Rachelle, 7, Raelynn, 3, and Landon, 7 months. Tollefsrud is a state program administrative technical specialist at Winona State University. He is involved in the community working as a Girl Scout leader for the Mabel-Canon/Spring Grove Troop and on the Police Reserve for Spring Grove Police Department.
Three of the five candidates answered a set of questions provided by the News-Record designed to provide voters with an insight to their qualifications and priorities for the Mabel-Canton School Board. Their responses are listed in alphabetical order.
1. What has motivated you to file for this office?
Loppnow: I have served the last four years on the school board and wish to continue to ensure all kids are receiving the best education possible.
Soiney: I was elected to serve on the Mabel Canton School board in 2005. My kids motivate me to run as I want to make sure that we are providing the best education and school environment for not only my kids but for all kids in the Mabel Canton Community.
Tollefsrud: What motivated me to run is that I have seen and heard that some of the programs are up in the air because of funding or not enough numbers, such as FFA, athletic sports, fine arts, etc. I want to make sure all kids have those experience and the opportunities to express themselves and to have fun. These programs allow the kids to grow to be accountants, nurses and farmers when they graduate from high school. I am all for a bright future for each child.
2. Name one characteristic you have that has enabled or would enable you to be a valuable member of this office. Please explain.
Loppnow: I feel I am a good listener and easy to get along with. Being on the school board for the last four years I have developed a great understanding of how important being a good listener is.
Soiney: I am an honest person and I will stand up for what I believe is right for our kids, our school and our community.
Tollefsrud: The way I look at it is that I have first eyes on what colleges are looking for in students who want to attend college because of my knowledge and inside experience working for a state university. I understand there are some students who will want to go into the military and who will want to work once they get out of high school and that is fine. At least we can get them prepared for college up until their senior year and then they can decide and, hopefully, choose to go to college.
3. Is there an upcoming issue that you feel needs to be addressed by the school board and how would you proceed?
Loppnow: The school is starting to investigate the possibility of adding a SAC program to the school. I feel that the community is in dire need of help with childcare and hopefully this would help our young families in the community.
Soiney: There are always new issues that need to be addressed by the school board. We need to work together as a team and make sure we make the best decisions we can for the future of Mabel-Canton Schools. As a small school and community we need to focus on what's best for our kids and make sure they are receiving the best education and learning environment they deserve. I feel like we have the best of the best at Mabel-Canton and I am very honored to represent the school on our school board. Thank you!
Tollefsrud: The issue about enrollment numbers, offer more classes, offering extra curricular activities and the use of technology properly. I would like to see the school work with the community and try to bring more business to the Mabel-Canton area to help enrollment numbers. If we offered more classes that are different from other neighboring schools, this could bring more interest of neighboring children who would want to come to M-C. I would like to make sure all extra curricular activities are well-rounded and possibly offer activities we used to have or collaborate with a neighboring town. Technology is a consistent changing and I would like to make sure our students are knowledgeable about technology and how to use it. I would like to see it in the palm of their hands and not just in the classroom.