OXFORD — The Sept. 8 school board election, combined with resignations, has changed the look of the Clear Creek Amana (CCA) School Board.
Board president Dan Schaapveld (at-large director) decided not to seek re-election, while Kathy Zimmerman (director district No. 2) was defeated at the polls. Matthew Croco (director district No. 4) resigned in July after moving out of the district, leaving an open seat.
In their places came Eileen Schmidt, who beat Zimmerman; Aimee Pitlick (at-large); and write-in candidate Mick Kahler, who pursued Croco’s vacancy.
Schaapveld, who has spent 25 years involved with the district, served for nine years on the board.
“I love the people I’ve worked with,” he said. “I loved working for the kids. Our kids are our most precious natural resource.”
The out-going president credited his predecessor, Jim Seelman, with being a good mentor and resource.
“It’s been fun watching the district grow,” he said, noting while much attention has been paid to brick and mortar, as some say, there have also been academic improvements made.
“Parents have become more involved, and that’s a good thing,” he said.
Kathy Zimmerman looked back on her four years of service as a board member with only one regret: “I wish I’d done it sooner!”
Although the votes didn’t tally in her favor, she sees the increase in voters going to the polls this time around as a sign more people are taking an interest in their school district.
“I’m most proud the seven people here did what they did. Test scores have gone up and our academics have improved. I’m very blessed to have been a part of this board,” Zimmerman said.
Although she is off the board, Zimmerman will continue to be active in the district with the FAME (Fine Arts and Music Enhancers) program.
Zimmerman’s election rival, Eileen Schmidt, was anxious to join the board.
“I would like to thank all those who supported me with their vote, and those who worked hard in my campaign,” Schmidt said. “Our children, teachers, and community at CCA are my utmost concern, and I feel honored to be able to represent them.”
Aimee Pitlick shared Schmidt’s enthusiasm.
“I’m excited about being one of three new members. I think we’ll all bring a new perspective,” Pitlick said. “It’s a big change for the district.”
Write-in candidate Mick Kahler had thought about running for the board in years past, but added he wouldn’t have had any reason to run against Croco. With the seat vacant, and no formal candidates announced, Kahler said some people approached him with the idea of running.
“Maybe it’s my time to help out,” he said.
Kahler and his wife are both CCA alumni, and owners of Kahler Collision Center in Coralville.
“Word got out pretty quick,” he said about his candidacy, which was mostly word-of-mouth and via e-mail.
“The previous board has done a great job. A lot of the work has been done, and I’m very happy with what they’ve done so far. I’m jumping in at a good time.”
Kahler acknowledged he has a lot to learn, with the goal of “trying to carry-on what’s already been started. Common sense is a lot of it, and ultimately, doing what’s right for the kids.”