Hastings ISD 200: School board election 2023

A group gathers in a large indoor space.
A group of students gather in the common area of Hastings High School in Hastings, Minn., on Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2020.
Evan Frost | MPR News

This district serves Hastings, a city in Dakota County. None of the incumbent board members are running for reelection, meaning four new members will be elected to the board this year.

Becky Beissel, Brian Davis, Lisa Hedin and Stephanie Malm all currently serve on the Hastings board. None of the incumbent members are running for reelection.

MPR News emailed each candidate in this race and asked them questions about their qualifications, priorities and the most critical issue their district faces. The following responses were edited for length and clarity to provide a closer look at each candidate’s priorities if elected as a board member.

Philip Biermaier

  • Biermaier has not responded to MPR News as of Oct. 25.

Nancy Blanchard

  • Blanchard has not responded to MPR News as of Oct. 25.

Matt Bruns

  • “I am deeply committed to advancing the quality of education in our district and ensuring that every student has the opportunity to thrive. With 14 years of experience in education, including administrative roles, I have a profound understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing our schools,” Bruns told MPR News.

  • “The most critical issue our district faces is the pervasive achievement gap and disparities in educational outcomes among our students. It is unacceptable that some students have access to significantly more resources and opportunities than others, resulting in unequal outcomes,” Bruns said.

Melissa Millner

  • Millner has not responded to MPR News as of Oct. 25.

Pamela J. Onnen

  • Onnen has not responded to MPR News as of Oct. 25.

Mariah Ring

  • Ring has not responded to MPR News as of Oct. 25.

Matt Seeger

  • Seeger has not responded to MPR News as of Oct. 25.

  • “Because I grew up in this district and went to both private and public educational institutions here, I have a solid understanding of what this community values. I also have two decades of experience of working with people from all walks of life,” Seeger told League of Women Voters.

  • “I will be working to help all students thrive by ensuring that teachers have the needed resources for age-appropriate, evidence-based instruction and curriculum. I will engage the full school district community,” Seeger told League of Women Voters. “I will work to ensure sound management of the budget in an effective, efficient and responsible manner.”

Brandy Wentzler

  • “I am running for school board because I want to serve our students and teachers as a listener and ongoing learner myself. I have 30 years of public service experience as an ASL Interpreter, teaching assistant, volunteer coordinator and now library worker,” Wentzler told MPR News. “My hope is to work for our students and teachers in a way that maintains the practices that are already great and by thinking forward to find improvement in areas where we are challenged as a district. My focus will be on the well-being of our children and educational staff.”

  • “The most critical issue I think we face as a school district is connection. It feels like even though we all walk around with devices designed to help us connect with each other, we are doing the opposite. Our families need more opportunities to gather together face to face,” Wentzler said. “Every teacher, every food service worker, every administrator, and every custodian has chosen this vocation out of a dedication to our students.”

Jenny Wiederholt-Pine

  • Widerholt-Pine has not responded to MPR News as of Oct. 25.

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