District 11 School Board appoints Jeff Simon to fill vacancy

BY KELLY JOHNSON

kelly.johnson@ecm-inc.com

Jeff Simon is the new District 6 representative on the Anoka-Hennepin School Board.

A resident of Coon Rapids for almost 12 years, Simon was unanimously appointed to the position at the board’s meeting Monday night.

The Coon Rapids resident was sworn into office and will serve the remainder of a term that expires Jan. 1, 2014.

Simon works in business but also has experience in education, having pursued a degree in both fields. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration and management and a master’s degree in K-12 guidance counseling, both from the University of Wisconsin – River Falls. He currently works as vice-president of sales for Hollander Home Fashions. Simon and his wife have two children at Hoover Elementary School in Coon Rapids.

A volunteer with the Hoover Parent Teacher Organization since 2008, Simon also served as a member of the school district’s Future Focus Team from January through June 2011. Simon also serves on the Coon Creek Watershed District (CCWD) Citizen Advisory Committee, volunteers at Feed My Starving Children and was an assistant T-ball coach for the Coon Rapids National League – Giants in 2010.

Simon also applied for a vacant school board position in 2008 and ran for the school board in the 2009 election.

"I’ve always wanted to stay involved," Simon said about education and why he applied to serve on the school board.

District 6 includes the eastern portion of Coon Rapids and the southwest portion of Andover.

Simon replaces former school board member Kathy Tingelstad, who resigned April 19.

Once the new districts were in place April 30, the school board began to accept applications for the open seat. Seven people applied for the position.

Seven applications were received for the vacant position – Jennifer Drummy, William F. Hammes, Roger I. Johnson, Kelly J. Larrabee, Patrick J. Murray, Simon and Tiffany Strabala.

School board members used 14 different criteria to score resumes, such as being an active volunteer in the community and with a school or the district and likelihood he or she would seek election when the current term expires. Board members selected four applicants to interview. Simon was determined to be the top candidate.

"It was very refreshing that so many individuals in the community were interested in serving on the school board," said School Board Chairman Tom Heidemann. "For me personally, this was a difficult decision to make because we had so many qualified community members interested in the position."

In his letter of interest, Simon said as a parent of two children in the district, husband to a licensed educator currently substituting in the district and neighbor and friend to many families with children in the district, he has a strong motivation to give his time, energy and experience to the school board. After taking the oath of office, Simon said he looks forward to serving on the board.

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