I always vote in school board elections, even non-contested ones, to prevent any stealth write-in candidate from winning. But until this year, I had never knocked on doors for a school board candidate. Nor have I endorsed a school board candidate at Bleeding Heartland before now.
Heather Anderson would be an exceptional voice on the Des Moines School Board. She is a creative thinker, hard worker, and good listener.
Anderson was one of five finalists for the Iowa Department of Education's Iowa Teacher of the Year. She won the Iowa Division of the Izaak Walton League's Teacher of the Year award. She won the Iowa State Education Association's Excellence in Education Award too. None of those honors surprised anyone who had seen her in action.
Before either of my sons was assigned to Anderson's classroom, I was aware of her efforts to enrich the learning environment at their elementary school. During the years she taught my sons, I continually saw her go above and beyond for her students and colleagues.
Watching her interact with children and adults in the classroom, on field trips, or at other school events, I saw how well Anderson relates to people with different temperaments and personality types. I think she possesses a rare combination of traditional intelligence (the "ability to learn, understand, and apply information and skills") and interpersonal relationship skills (often called "EQ").
Over the past decade, the Des Moines School Board has been too willing to go along with the recommendations of the superintendent, whoever he or she may be. I believe Anderson would provide a counterweight to what appears to be a "business as usual" board culture.
You can read more about Anderson's background and comments from other supporters on her campaign website. The Des Moines Education Association, South Central Iowa Federation of Labor, and Central Iowa Building & Construction Trades Council have endorsed her candidacy.
If you live on the northwest side of Des Moines or in the Windsor Heights neighborhoods that are part of the Des Moines School District, I hope you will give Anderson your serious consideration for the District 1 seat. After the jump I've enclosed a map showing the district boundaries. Polls are open on Tuesday, September 8, from 7:00 am to 8:00 pm.
Sample ballots and other information about local school board races are available on the Polk County Auditor's website.