A longtime Brainerd School Board member has decided to not seek re-election while four candidates, including one who filed late Tuesday, will run for the three four-year terms up for election this fall.
School board filings closed at 5 p.m. Tuesday.
Candidates seeking one of the three four-year terms on Nov. 8 are incumbents Lew Hudson and Bob Nystrom, as well as Ruth Nelson and Michael Lambert, who were both school board candidates two years ago.
Bernie Roberts will leave the school board after 13 years at the post.
Board chair Bernie Roberts, who has served on the board for 13 years, has decided not to seek re-election. Roberts is a certified financial planner and works as an investment representative with Edward Jones in Brainerd.
Roberts said Tuesday that he believes some change in organizations is a good thing, which is why he chose not to run again.
"Knowing that Bob, Ruth and Lew are running, they're great candidates," said Roberts. "I just think sometimes change is good and whoever ends up on the board will do well, along with the existing board members. I believe in a little bit of change from time to time."
Roberts said he will miss being on the board.
"I will really miss the people,' said Roberts. "Not just the current board members but I felt extremely privileged to be associated with other board members over the years."
When Roberts first became a board member, his oldest child was a kindergartner and now, during the final year on the board, has graduated. His other two children will be a junior and senior at Brainerd High School this fall.
Roberts said he is proud to have served as a Brainerd School Board member, a district that has remained financially solvent during a time in which it's been tough for many organizations, including school districts, to do.
Michael Lambert was a late filer for school board.
"It's been a great experience over the past 13 years," said Roberts.
Lambert, a Brainerd police officer, filed for school board 15 minutes before filings closed Tuesday.
Lambert has served as a police officer for 26 years, working as a Brainerd police officer for the past 19 years. He ran for school board in 2003.
"I still have some concerns from the last time I ran," Lambert said Tuesday.
Lambert believes the school board should televise its meetings, particularly since the district has a video production department. He said as a law enforcement officer he can provide a different perspective to the board, notably when it comes to school safety and security.
"I deal with people on a different level than a lot of people do," said Lambert, as a police officer. "I'm not into the warm and fuzzy end of it. ... I'm more gruff. I have more of a no-nonsense approach. If something bothers me, I take care of it."
Lambert said it concerns him that Forestview Middle School was built seemingly without consideration of the longer ambulance and fire response times to the Baxter school.
"Response times are important," said Lambert.
Lambert, along with his wife, Jan, has coached softball through Brainerd Parks and Recreation for the past 10 years. He was a liaison for Youth in Action, which promoted youths not to use alcohol. He runs the Junior Police program in Brainerd where police officers visit children for an hour for three weeks to promote a positive environment between police officers and children. He also is part of the Officer Friendly program, visiting area elementary schools to promote positive relationships between children and police officers. Lambert was chosen by his fellow officers as Brainerd Police Officer of the Year in 2001 and 2004.
Lambert is on the board of Brainerd Kiwanis and belongs to the Minnesota Police and Peace Officer Association. One of the resolutions he introduced to the association ended up being passed by state lawmakers two years ago. The resolution required that blue lights be used on squad cars, rather than just red lights, for easier visibility.
Lambert said some of the people who supported his school board candidacy two years ago encouraged him to run this fall.
The Lamberts have two daughters, Samantha, a 2005 BHS graduate who is now in basic training for the Minnesota Army National Guard, and Jacqueline, a BHS junior.
Hudson, a retired newspaper journalist and columnist, has served on the board for the past 10 years. He has served twice as board chair and currently serves as the board's vice-chair. Hudson lives in Baxter.
Nystrom, a pharmacist who operated Nystrom Drug for 15 years, is completing his first term on the board. He served as board chair in 2004 and has been chair of the board's building committee for four years. Nystrom lives in Baxter.
Nelson, a longtime school district volunteer and supporter, ran for school board in 2003. She recently served on the district's long-range planning committee and has been a representative on the district advisory committee. Nelson lives in East Gull Lake.
JODIE TWEED can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5858.
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