Knockoff Naomi

A few extra candidate commentaries for Minnesota. I'm no Kritzer, but I'll do what I can.

ISD 11 Minnesota school board election candidates

I don't see any at-large district-wide races in ISD 11, the Anoka-Hennepin school district. Instead, if you live in its subdistrict #3, #4, or #6, you have an election to vote in. Each of those elections has just 2 candidates to choose from (unless there's also a write-in option, I suppose), and you only get one vote.

Within each district, listed by descending order first by my preference, then by alphabetical last name.

District 3

Kacy Deschene -- yes

Oh neat, someone who says "transparent" who doesn't mean it as, "I disagree with the current school board because they're making my kid wear a mask and I didn't want them to."

Positive attitude towards past work by people involved in running the district: "...while building upon the strong legacy of innovation, opportunity and inclusion in the district."


  • Money toward smaller classrooms
  • Money toward expanded curricular choices (neat -- so often, I mostly see calls for "just teach everyone reading and math and they'll be fine" when they talk about curriculum).
  • Money toward expanded access to early childhood education options.
  • Making sure perspectives are truly included from "those who have been traditionally marginalized"
  • Lots of communication & information-sharing in the process of governance


  • PTO

Source: Candidate website

Bill Harvey -- TBD


As with a lot of incumbents, I can't find much about where he stands on things -- he seems perfectly happy to ride his name recognition and keep his head down.

Acording to the Union Herald, 2017's Jessica Geisler seemed to share a lot of his current opponent Kacy's concerns about whether the school district was doing right by its increasingly diverse population, but he didn't seem ... like any sort of anti-diversity villain or anything?

Here's a quote from him:

  • One very important area of concern is the underfunding of special education at the state level that 'shortchanges' Anoka-Hennepin Schools approximately $30 million per year. We are very proud of how fiscally responsible and respectful of our taxpayers we are in Anoka-Hennepin, but compared to other school districts, we are 'property poor' and do not receive the same funding.

This might just be a situation of two perfectly good candidates running for one spot? I'm curious to know more.

District 4

Dave Dirkswager -- yes

This seems like a pretty straightforward "find ways to put money into common-sense, proven ways of helping kids do well in school" candidate.

He does the whole "collaborative" "bringing people together" thing w/ his wording.


  • Money toward extra academic support to students who fell behind in the pandemic
  • Money toward expanding social, emotional, and mental health support
  • Money toward reducing class size where possible
  • Staying on budget


  • A day job that requires overseeing a multi-million-dollar public-sector budget

Especially in opposition to the "muzzle teachers" guy, I'm for Dave.

Source: Candidate website

Matt Audette -- no

I'll give this candidate credit -- he doesn't make me guess that he's for conservatizing public education policy in ways that I wouldn't agree with. It says right on his home page that he "will be your local conservative voice."

Sadly, he seems more concerned with the fact that kids didn't get to do group sports, and that "we must make sure it can never happen again," than the fact that being around each other was sending kids to the hospital.

So I definitely wouldn't vote for him.

I do like that he prominently features a nice map of ISD 11 district 4, a reminder that it includes areas of Ham Lake, Andover, Ramsey, Nowthen, and Oak Grove. He also features a prominent link to the official Secretary of State government voting website, accompanied by large-font, colorful date reminders telling people when to vote (November 2) and when early voting begins (September 17). Finally, he reminds people that their polling place might have changed.

For all the "transparency" dog whistles I saw in ISD 196 that seemed to be a secret code for, "I'm a conservative," I give this candidate credit for actually behaving transparently. He put his political ethos right on his home page in plain English, and he provided useful voting information to all who visit his site, whether they want him in power or not.

That said, his only "key issue" as of September 3 on his website is "no critical race theory." So I don't want him anywhere close to the reins of power in a district that's 38% nonwhite. First of all, "CRT" itself is a law-school-level academic subject, not something you "teach in schools." Here's the American Bar Association explaining it. Secondly, what I think is usually meant by "CRT" at the populist level is "don't tell kids about racism. Ever." Which is, if you ask me, about as effective at making the world a better place as is not telling kids about sex, to prevent pregnancy and STIs.

Source: Candidate website

District 6

Jill Bornes -- yes


  • Meeting student needs equitably
  • Money towards hiring, supporting, and retaining teachers, particularly in recognition of how hard teaching during the pandemic has been, and also to make sure the students see themselves reflected in the teaching population.


  • PTO president

Source: Candidate website

Jeff Simon -- TBD

Incumbent. Doesn't really talk about where he wants to go, but has a neat list of "things he feels he brought money to" during his past terms, which is more than I see with a lot of incumbents.

Claims to have been asked to run for state office by both the DFL and the GOP, and feels like that's a good indicator that he's kept his beliefs tightly guarded enough that no one can really tell what he wants and feels that he's listening to what they want.

That absolutely could be the case, but I wouldn't vote for him without knowing a little bit more about how he wants to spend money in the future. Like, he's been in office 8 years. I know he's formed opinions that guide him when it's actually time to vote as a member of the board. There's no way he just does a count of hands in the audience of every school board meeting and serves as a 100% pass-through, right?

Source: Candidate website