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Four candidates currently on docket for three school board seats

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And then there were four.

Two more candidates - one incumbent and one newcomer - have thrown their hats into the ring for this summer's West Fargo school board elections.

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Newcomer Shelley Treib and incumbent Patti Stedman filed their paperwork with the district last week. They join two others: incumbent Kay Kiefer and ex-school board member Jeff Shirley.

School board hopefuls have until 4 p.m. Friday to file Affidavit of Candidacy and Statement of Interest forms with West Fargo business manager Mark Lemer.

Voting for the three open school board seats will take place in conjunction with the June 12 primary election.

School board president Ben Koppelman, whose seat was up along with Stedman's and Kiefer's, has opted not to run for re-election as he instead pursues the republican nomination for District 16 of the North Dakota House of Representatives.

The two most recent candidates each said they have unique qualities they'd be able to bring to West Fargo for the next four years.

Stedman 'excited for the second four years'

Stedman was a newcomer, herself, when she was elected to the school board in 2008. Now the board vice president, she is hoping another four years will allow her the opportunity to continue working with the West Fargo School District.

"I think that the first four years are always the hardest, so I'm excited for the second four years," said Stedman, who co-owns Bradley L. Stedman Ltd, an accounting firm.

In her time with the board, Stedman got to witness the final passing of an $82 million school building bond referendum, the fruits of which are ripening at the very moment. A new elementary school, Freedom, will open this fall, and work already has begun on Liberty Middle School.

Remodeling and additions to Sheyenne Middle School will transform it into West Fargo's second high school by the 2015-16 school year.

The big changes that come with new schools, and especially a high school, are not lost on Stedman. She currently has three children - one in high school and two in middle school - in the West Fargo School District.

"Opening a new middle school will be a big transition for the community," Stedman said. "And I think the new high school, in general, will be the hardest thing for our district."

Stedman added that finding a new identity, particular for athletics and extracurricular activities, will be keys to the community embracing a second high school. She hopes that the work this board had done in emphasizing communication and community input will continue through all phases of the transition.

Besides her seat with the board, Stedman has sat on several district committees, including Planning and Development committee, Budget, Policy, and Communications.

Treib brings business background

Treib hopes her background in business will be beneficial if she is elected to the school board.

Treib currently is the budget manager for the North Dakota Soybean Council. She and her husband have two kids in the West Fargo School System, both at Eastwood Elementary.

"I've been very interested, ever since my kids started school, to get more involved in the education in West Fargo," said Treib, who recently became president of the Parent Teacher Association. She hopes to use her experience from her involvement at Eastwood as a school board member.

Originally from Amidon in southwestern North Dakota, Treib has lived in West Fargo for 23 years.

"We came from a very, very small school district, so this is a big change. I'm interested to see the difference from when I grew up to now," she said.

Teib admitted there are a lot of positives in the West Fargo School District, but she thinks some changes could occur, starting with meals.

"We need a new lunch menu. The nutrition value isn't that great," she said.

Treib also hopes she would be able to use her influence on the board to help teachers with supplies in the classroom.

"I've seen how teachers struggle through the years with keeping supplies up," she said. "It shouldn't have to come out of their own pockets."

Because of her work with the N.D. Soybean Council, Treib said she has intimate knowledge with the workings of a board, so transitioning to West Fargo Public Schools should be short.

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