As technology continues to advance and tech-based jobs spread, Karen Friedlein wants to ensure students in Carroll are ready to meet the changing demands both in school and after they are out of the classroom.
She wants to help every student be successful, she said.
“I want to help move the Carroll school district forward, particularly with technology and where the jobs are going with artificial intelligence and technology,” she said.
Friedlein, 58, a Carroll Community School Board member, is running in the November election to maintain her position on the board. After former school board member Gina Badding resigned in April due to her appointment as an Iowa district court judge, Friedlein was appointed to the board and began learning the ins and outs of how the school board operates.
“It’s been very fulfilling, actually,” she said. “I have been able to learn a lot from fellow board members, and having (Superintendent) Casey (Berlau) come on board has been a real plus. I think that he’s very approachable and very experienced.”
Friedlein is a biology professor at Des Moines Area Community College in Carroll. Her husband, Eric Jensen, is the mayor of Carroll and a podiatrist at McFarland Clinic, and their two children, Soren, 21, and Arrington, 19, graduated from Carroll Community School District.
Over the past few months, Friedlein said, she has learned the complexities that come with serving on a board and the importance of making sure every community member is recognized and included.
“This involves family and community, and you need to include the community in decisions that you make,” she said. “You are working with the students and the families. Your decisions really do impact the community, and people do care and want to help.”
As a board member and educator, Friedlein said her strength is looking ahead and helping prepare not only her students but the school district for the future.
“I think Carroll is really poised in a place right now that they have embraced Tiger Vision and technology,” she said. “They really have worked toward fulfilling that piece for the students.”
During her time on the board, Friedlein said, she has seen how invested all of the Carroll Schools teachers and administrators are in their students. She wants to not only maintain that commitment but push the district forward as technology continues to evolve.
“I work well with other people, and right now, I really want to help with the (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math curriculum) and the technology at the Carroll (school) district,” she said. “All of these students need to be immersed and exposed to technology, because it will help them for their future careers and jobs.”
Five candidates — Jon Sampson, Brad Jorgensen, Karen Friedlein, Onica Ulveling and Cindy Johnson — are running for three spots on the board currently held by Sampson, Jorgensen and Friedlein. The Times Herald contacted incumbent board members Sampson and Jorgensen, who declined to comment.