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Randy Frederickson pleased to join Willmar School Board

Randy Frederickson said he is happy to be joining a Willmar School Board and a school district that is a "playoff team" and not in a rebuilding year. After his election Tuesday, he said he feels his perspective can be of use to the board.

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Voter Larry Scholla casts his ballot Tuesday, April 13, 2021 at the Willmar Education and Arts Center during a special election that was held to fill a seat on the Willmar School Board. Erica Dischino / West Central Tribune

WILLMAR — Randy Frederickson has wanted to join the Willmar School Board a while, and now he has his chance. He was elected to the board in a special election Tuesday.

Frederickson, who taught in Willmar Public Schools for nearly three decades, said, “The longer you work for an organization, the easier it is to identify where improvements could be made,” he said Wednesday, and he’s considered the idea of running for some time.

Frederickson, 62, filed to run in the 2020 board election, but came in fifth in a field where the top four candidates were elected to the board. He is a retired middle school science teacher who currently works as an aquatic invasive species educator for Kandiyohi County and a part-time employee of the Wild Bird Warehouse.

After Michael O’Brien left the board to serve on the Willmar City Council, Frederickson was elected in the special election as the only candidate.

“Certainly I’m excited about the opportunity to serve, and, as I’ve said multiple times, I’m inspired that we have a strong, functional board right now,” he said. “I think I have a unique perspective I can bring to conservations.”

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He added, “My job is to serve, listen and try to help make things better.”

Frederickson said he is looking forward to working with what he sees as a successful school board and strong district leadership. He used a sports analogy, saying it’s nice to be joining a playoff team rather than one in a rebuilding year.

With just one candidate’s name on the ballot, the election had a low turnout, just 127 votes, and Frederickson received 77 percent of the vote. There were a fair number of write-in votes cast: Steve Biesterfield received 27 votes, about 21 percent of the total. Two people received one write-in vote each — Andirahmian Hussein and Laura Warne.

The seven-member school board will have several members with backgrounds in education.

Frederickson said he thought the board’s mixture of former educators and people from a variety of other professions was well-positioned to serve the district.

He said he looked forward to working with other board members to address the recovery from the pandemic and its effect on schools and students.

Last year, “we turned traditional education on its head and asked every educator to open a new playbook, without plays, while the game was going on,” he said. “We asked the same of most parents.”

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The impact of such upheaval is likely to last a long time, he added.

In 42 years in the newspaper industry, Linda Vanderwerf has worked at several daily newspapers in Minnesota, including the Mesabi Daily News, now called the Mesabi Tribune in Virginia. Previously, she worked for the Las Cruces Sun-News in New Mexico and the Rapid City Journal in the Black Hills of South Dakota. She has been a reporter at the West Central Tribune for nearly 27 years.

Vanderwerf can be reached at email: lvanderwerf@wctrib.com or phone 320-214-4340
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