Wednesday, August 23, 2017

An Awesome Responsibility: Vote September 12!

Service on the local school board is perhaps one of the most thankless jobs in public service. Consider this: of all the elected offices one can choose to run for, a seat on the school board is the only one that doesn't come with a salary. Instead, it oftentimes comes with a plethora of complaints! Class sizes are too large. The teachers are mean. The administration makes awful decisions. Why on earth are they teaching 'that' in math class? The list goes on and on, and if you ask your school board members, they may have even more examples. 

But at the same time, in my opinion, there is no better example of seeing our democratic form of government in action than the local school board. Former Speaker of the House Tip O'Neil is often credited with the phrase, 'All politics is local', and I think he is more right than we realize. Think about it for a moment. How much of what happens in Washington truly impacts your everyday lives? Now how much of what happens at your local school district impact your daily lives? The Hudson Community School District will manage a total budget of $10,752,144 in fiscal year 2018. I contend school board service is rich, rewarding, and an enormous responsibility. Indeed, it is a very exciting time for our school district as we make plans for a future that includes projected enrollment growth, significant improvements to our facilities, and the opportunity to cement our place as an educational destination in the Cedar Valley. We are on our way! It is within that context that I introduce to you the following candidates for the school board. Your vote counts. Don't forget to vote on September 12!

Traci Trunck, Incumbent
Traci Trunck
Traci has local roots, growing up not too far away in Reinbeck, Iowa. As a graduate of Gladbrook-Reinbeck, Mrs. Trunck comes from a long and proud history of school board service. Following in the footsteps of her father who served on the Gladbrook-Reinbeck Community School District Board of Directors while she was growing up, Traci is completing her first term on the Hudson school board. 

Mrs. Trunck earned a business degree from the University of Northern Iowa and has been employed by John Deere for the past 19 years. Currently, she serves as the Supply Management Manager for the Central West and South East regions. Traci and her husband Charlie have two children who attend Hudson schools. Elyse will be going into the 8th grade this year and Ansley will be in 5th grade. 

Traci recognizes and appreciates the responsibility of governing a school district and is running for re-election because she wants to continue to serve our community and make a positive impact on our school district. When asked about the greatest challenge facing education in our state, she points to an inability of the legislature to determine what the core curriculum should be and alignment of the state assessment to that content. She is also concerned about the lack of adequate funding for schools in Iowa. 

When asked about the challenges facing the Hudson Community School District, Mrs. Trunck first highlights our strengths: "The Hudson school district is a leader in many ways. In the past four years, we have invested in teacher leadership, mentor teachers, 1:1 technology in the middle school and high school, i-Pads in the elementary, new curriculum, and building renovations. Our superintendent and board have a strong voice in the Iowa legislature and with local representatives." She goes on to state that our school district is currently well positioned for the future needs of our district and is hopeful that our greatest challenge in the future will be to find space to house an explosion of new kids in the district! "We are working hard to build and promote an excellent school district that will attract many new families to Hudson."

Traci wants everyone to know that she is proud of this district and is invested in our children's education. She is passionate about making certain Hudson remains strong for years to come. If re-elected, Mrs. Trunck will continue to lead with students being the main focal point of her deliberations and make decisions that support student achievement, faculty development, technology investment, and school building improvements.

Matt Sallee, Candidate for School Board
Matt Sallee
Although Matt hails from Indianola, Iowa, he has been proud to call the Cedar Valley, and specifically Hudson home for over twenty years. As a newcomer to board service, Mr. Sallee is excited to have an opportunity to serve on the school board.

Mr. Sallee earned a marketing degree from the University of Northern Iowa and currently serves as the Vice-President of Marketing and Innovation at Waterloo industries. Matt and his wife Dee have been married for 21 years and have two wonderful daughters. Madison is a proud graduate of the Hudson High School Class of 2017 and will be headed just up the road to the University of Northern Iowa this fall and majoring in business. Their daughter Kylee is eager to start her career as a high schooler this year when she crosses the street to begin her freshman year. Both of Matt and Dee's daughters have been very actively involved in school and have had outstanding experiences in the Hudson school system.

When asked about what drew Matt to board service, he talks first about the experience his children have had in Hudson and he is grateful that they have the opportunities that are available in our school district. He feels this is a great way to give back to his community while ensuring that all students will have the same positive experiences as his own children for years to come. Mr. Sallee understands the challenges facing Iowa schools are multi-faceted, complex, and unique to the local context. However, commonalities facing our state educational system include safety of students and staff, managing a budget with scant funding sources, and attracting and retaining quality teachers.

Matt understands that Hudson is not immune to some of those very challenges. However, the size of our school district creates both unique challenges and in some cases opportunities for Hudson. Mr. Sallee would make it a priority to ensure that we continue to offer our students a balanced education while ensuring top quality academics as well as a wide variety of extra-curricular activities. He believes this well-rounded approach is critical for our students as we prepare them for the next step in their lives.

Mr. Sallee is excited to have an opportunity to run for school board and hopes to bring the same common sense approach to board service that he uses every day in his work life. He believes that he can play a key role in providing our students the best education possible.

Brenda Klenk, Candidate for School Board
No stranger to small schools, Brenda is originally from Ossian, Iowa where she attended South Winneshiek Community School District. Mrs. Klenk then moved to Waukon and graduated from Allamakee schools. Following graduation from high school, Brenda did a stint in the United States Army Reserve before being honorably discharged with the rank of Sergeant. She continued her education at the American Institute of Business where she earned her Associates Degree. These days she can be found in the courtroom where she serves the Honorable Linda M. Fangman as a licensed and certified shorthand and registered professional reporter for the State of Iowa as a First District Official Reporter.

Brenda and her family tried out the big city life for a few years, settling in the suburban Chicagoland area before realizing it just wasn't for them. The schools were just too big, and both Brenda and Ken wanted their children to have a school experience that resembled what they knew growing up. With family in Hudson and after having visited here several times and knowing Hudson offered a great education, they knew right away Hudson was where they wanted to call home. After visiting several small towns in Iowa, they fell in love with Hudson and relocated here in 2008 when their oldest daughter Ellie was in the 6th grade. Now, almost 10 years later, Ellie is a student at the University of Northern Iowa. Annelise graduated from Hudson High School in May and is off to Iowa State Unversity this fall, which leaves Amelia who is excited to start the 5th grade. Brenda and her husband Ken have been married for 22 years.

Mrs. Klenk gravitates toward board service out of a desire to serve her community. As a parent and citizen of this community, she feels the experiences her children have had in school have been excellent. At the same time, there is a recognition her youngest child still has 8 years to enjoy as a student at Hudson. She wants to ensure all her children have the same great experience. Brenda understands the challenges that face schools in Iowa and points to a continued lack of funding for school districts and the changing demographics of the student population.

Nevertheless, Mrs. Klenk is quick to point out the strengths of Hudson schools! She points to a tradition of academic excellence that has been a mainstay of Hudson year after year and attributes that first and foremost to the amazing educators that work so hard in our school buildings. However, she understands that our challenge will be to retain these educators in light of continued funding challenges.

Brenda is excited about her candidacy and would love the opportunity to work collaboratively with other members of the board and the administration, while at the same time providing the best possible advocacy for our number one priority: the student.

Kala Featherstone, Candidate for School Board
Kala Featherstone
Originally from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Kala and her family are proud to call Hudson home! Her parents still live in Sioux Falls and she has a sister who lives in Minneapolis. Mrs. Featherstone attended Iowa State University and earned degrees in accounting and management information systems. After obtaining her CPA license she worked for a firm in Des Moines which gave her great insight and experience in multiple industries including school district auditing.

Kala currently works in the risk management division of Wells Fargo bank. She has been with the bank 13 years holding positions in financial planning, accounting controller, and technology/risk divisions. Mrs. Featherstone feels her position is a great fit for her young family because it provides the opportunity to work from home so she can be with her children before and after school.

Kala and her husband Joe have been married for almost 10 years and have 3 children who currently attend (or will soon attend) Hudson schools. Their oldest, Katie is in 3rd grade, Chase is in 1st grade, and Brooke will be in preschool and can't wait until she can start kindergarten so she can ride the school bus! Kala wants to point out they moved into the district prior to Katie starting kindergarten so their children would be in a community with great schools and people. Their children are very active, love school, their teachers, and all the friends they have made at Hudson Elementary!

Mrs. Featherstone is interested in board service out of a desire to ensure the needs of our elementary children are considered in all decisions. She is attuned to the fact that new neighborhoods are under development which will lead to an increase in enrollment in the district. Within that context, she wants to ensure class sizes don't become too large, particularly in the elementary school where studies suggest student achievement is impacted by class size. Kala also believes her skill set will be a great fit for the board and a way to give back to the community, ensuring Hudson Schools is a top district in Iowa! At the same time, she recognizes the challenges that schools in Iowa have with regard to funding and other legislative requirements and mandates.

In Hudson, Kala believes the greatest challenge facing our schools is the ability to provide diverse offerings and extracurricular activities to meet the needs of multiple student interests and remain fiscally responsible. At the same time, it is important to consider the additionals costs that parents must contribute in order to participate in these activities. She is also a proponent of new cutting-edge technology and wants to ensure Hudson remains a leader in this arena. Kala is excited about school board service and would look forward to working with school stakeholders to make Hudson a premier school district in Iowa. She feels her perspective and skillset would be a valuable asset to the board and points out that with young children, she would be able to be a voice on the board for years to come.


  1. Dr Voss- how many open positions are on the board for this vote?

  2. Anne, There are three open positions on the board this September. Traci Trunck is the only incumbent who is running for re-election.