Mason City School Board election preview — five running for three full terms, one running for unexpired term
School board candidates from left to right: Alan Steckman, Carol Dettmer, Constance Dianda, Cindy Garza, Jacob Schweitzer, Peterson Jean-Pierre

MASON CITY — Five people are running for three, four-year terms on the Mason City School Board, while one person is actively campaigning for filling the remaining two years in another school board position. Two incumbents, Jacob Schweitzer and Alan Steckman, are being challenged by Carol Dettmer, Constance Dianda and Cindy Garza.

Schweitzer formerly was with the Mason City Fire Department and now works in the insurance field. He says communication is key with the public.  “I try to take all the information, I have those conversations in the grocery store and everywhere else, and I think that’s really the role of the board is to have those relationships, have that communication, and then present that and provide feedback for the superintendent so he understands where the community is at.”

Steckman, a retired postmaster, says he wants to continue the progress the district saw during his last term.   “I want to be part of the board that we finish the construction at the high school. I want to be part of the board that recovers from COVID-19. I want to be part of the board that looks far ahead and decides what we have to do for our students for the future.”

Dettmer, a former educator and currently a stay-at-home mom, wants to make sure that community members and parents feel very welcome to share their thoughts through the proper chain of command.     “Whether it be the uplifting, awesome things, or concerns with people in the building that are directly involved. Obviously board members are also there to help get people communicating in different ways, but to also be positive and work through those proper channels would be an amazing way to help.”

Dianda moved back to Mason City to take care of her parents and is running for public office for the first time.  “I’m very invested in the individuals, children and families that live here in Mason City…my goal on the school board is to bring my wisdom and experience into the decision that face the school board.”

Garza is an environmental engineer for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources who has had five children go through the district.   “What motivates me is we are empty nesters, just trying to be back involved with the school district. I think school districts are important for the community and a great school district makes it desirable for people to live here, so I just want to continue on with the great school that my kids went to and just be a positive image for them.”

In the race to fill a vacancy, Peterson Jean-Pierre was appointed to the board to fill the vacancy until the time of this election. Cristy Tass is on the ballot running against Jean-Pierre but announced in September that she was withdrawing her candidacy. That announcement came after the deadline to withdraw a person’s name from the ballot.