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School Board field finalized at Bemidji Area Schools: Eight candidates to vie for three open seats in November

BEMIDJI—Bemidji Area Schools voters will have eight names to choose from when they cast their ballots for School Board this November.

Two incumbents and six newcomers filled out affidavits of candidacy before the filing period for School Board candidates expired Tuesday evening. They'll vie for three open seats on the board.

The candidates are:

• Board Chair Carol L. Johnson

• Gary Rozman, head of the Beltrami County Historical Society

• Jeffrey Lind, Beltrami County social services director

• Board Member Shawn Whiting

• Wenona Kingbird, a Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe child abuse prevention coordinator

• Sarah Young, an associate professor at Bemidji State University

• Bonnie Solomon, a corporate travel agent

• Jack Aakhus, a Bemidji Area Schools substitute teacher and football coach

This year's board elections will be the first since 2012 where more candidates have sought office than the board has seats available.

Only Johnson and Whiting, the two incumbents, have sought or held public office before. Johnson was first voted to the board in 2004, and Whiting's held his spot since January, when board members picked him to finish out the term of Bill Faver, who retired in November.

Board Member Melissa Bahr, who was first elected in 2010, did not file for re-election this year.

The School Board election will coincide with the General Election on Tuesday, Nov. 6.

The Bemidji Education Association will meet in mid-September to decide whether the union will endorse any candidates this year.

Joe Bowen

Joe Bowen covers education (mostly K-12) and American Indian affairs for the Bemidji Pioneer.

He's from Minneapolis, earned a degree from the College of St. Benedict - St. John's University in 2009, and worked at the Perham Focus near Detroit Lakes and Sun Newspapers in suburban Minneapolis before heading to the Pioneer.

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