DES MOINES, Iowa–The Des Moines Public School Board is ushering in a new era. “It’s hands on, it’s real life. I don’t take it lightly and I take it seriously and I’m excited for the challenge,” said newly elected District 1 board member Heather Anderson.
There are three new faces, eager to tackle issues plaguing Des Moines Public Schools.
“The student achievement gap. It’s very clear that some of our students aren’t doing as well as others,” said Dionna Langford, the new District 2 board member. At just 24 years of age, Dionna Langford brings the youngest voice ever elected to the school board. “We are talking about 32,000 students,. If you don’t have a board member that can at least relate to those voices, then you have a big chunk of the community missing from the decision process.”
In District 3, Natasha Newcomb says her frustration as a parent of a home schooled child ignited her desire to run. “When I tried to speak to school district officials, conversations got a little bit difficult. When this opportunity arose, I decided it was time to make a change and hopefully change that for all the families in Des Moines.”
In District 1, it was actually Heather Anderson’s love for the district that brought her back to Des Moines. She said, “I thought what an awesome way to be involved on a grand scale and learn first hand what it’s like to hopefully affect many lives of students in Des Moines.”
The school board also made history by electing minorities to both leadership positions for the first time as at-large member Rob Barron was elected Chair and District 4 member Teree Caldwell-Johnson the Vice-Chair.
The new board members are excited to be a part of that history and help the school district rise up with the action student’s deserve Newcomb said, “I’m a big believer in that any decision, communication is key. If it’s made without all the information then we aren’t making the right decision.”
Langford believes Des Moines is a place children can thrive in the education system. She said, “Yes, we should be excited about the future of what our district can do for our kids. This is my city, i come from this city, these schools developed me.”
The school board also approved a grant agreement over $250,000 from the Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation and the Mid-Iowa Health Foundation to help Scavo High School open Iowa’s first school based dental clinic.