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Kiefer wants to finish what she started

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Kay Kiefer has learned a lot in the four years since first taking her seat on the West Fargo School Board.

Hopefully, she says, she will get to learn a lot more if she is elected to a second term.

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"It's a very exciting time to be a part of what is happening in the district," Kiefer said.

Kay Kiefer and her husband, Russ, have three grown children who successfully migrated through, and graduated from, the West Fargo Public Schools system.

"I am so grateful for the education they received and by the fact that, when they graduated, they were prepared for the outside world," she said. "Part of the success formula for our district is the fact that we have exceptional staff. The level of professionalism is outstanding; they, by and large, always want to do a better job."

Initially, Kiefer ran for the West Fargo School Board in 2008 because of a vested interest in her children's education. Now that they have moved on, however, she just wants to finish what she started.

"Serving on the school board this last four years has been very worthwhile, but also very personally rewarding," said Kiefer, 48, who filed official election paper work with the school district early last week. "The students in our classrooms are our future. And I've said it many times before, but they are our most valuable natural resources; investing in them is both fun and rewarding."

Kiefer's school board seat is one of three up for grabs. Four-year terms also are at an end for Patti Stedman and board president Ben Koppelman.

As of this publication of the West Fargo Pioneer, Stedman had not yet officially filed paperwork with business manager Mark Lemer, but has said that she is interested in running again.

Koppelman will not be running for reelection, as he instead ops to try his hand at the Republican nomination for the North Dakota House of Representatives in District 16.

Kiefer is not the only current candidate on the June 12 poll, however. Jeff Shirley, a former West Fargo school board member and ex-president, recently moved back to the West Fargo School District from Mapleton, and officially filed his paperwork in early March.

Only a few weeks remain until the filing deadline for school board candidacy, which comes to an end at 4 p.m. April 13. Residents must complete Affidavit of Candidacy and Statement of Interest forms in order to qualify.

Always learning

When Kiefer was first elected to the board, she thought she knew quite a bit about the education system. But after her first few board meetings, Kiefer founds out there was a lot she didn't know.

"It has been a very fulfilling and humbling experience," she said. "I still have a lot to learn, but definitely am willing to do so."

Deciding to run again did not come easy, however. Besides working as a nurse at a small independent practice in south Fargo, Kiefer found out there was a lot more to being a school board member than simply attending the occasional meeting.

"After being elected, I found out quickly that being on the school board was a significantly larger time and energy commitment than I anticipated," she said.

Even so, Kiefer said she is up for the task of another four years.

Besides attending regularly-scheduled board meetings, Kiefer also is on the alternative compensation study committee, which is a temporary group that has been charged with exploring alternative compensation ideas for the district's employees. She also holds seats with the policy committee and budget committee.

That latter group Kiefer actually requested to be a part of because it was one area she felt she was particularly weak in. Being on the budget committee has given her a greater understanding of funding within the school district, she said.

It's a lot of extra work for an already busy nurse, but Kiefer said she enjoys having a "pulse on the community."

During her time with the board, Kiefer witnessed the successful passing of an $82 million bond referendum, which has paved the way for the West Fargo School District to relieve its burgeoning student population.

Now as construction hits full tilt, Kiefer hopes to be around to see the project that she helped start, finally finish.

"I don't do things half way," she said. "I want to see this through."

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