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School board newcomers oust incumbents during city elections

Kuemper alumna Onica Ulveling defeats incumbents with almost twice the votes

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Two Carroll Community school board incumbents who sought re-election on Tuesday were defeated by board newcomers, one of whom is the parent of parochial school children.

Challengers Onica Ulveling and Cindy Johnson defeated incumbents Jon Sampson and Brad Jorgensen, with Ulveling’s votes nearly doubling Sampson’s and Jorgensen’s, who had a combined total of 1,555 votes.

Five candidates — including appointed member Karen Friedlein — ran for three spots on the board.

The total unofficial votes reported Tuesday for each school board candidate were:

— Onica Ulveling, 1,498

— Karen Friedlein, 1,127

— Cindy Johnson, 1,077

— Brad Jorgensen, 807

— Jon Sampson, 748

A total of 3,063 voters participated in Tuesday’s elections, out of 14,398 registered voters. The votes are unofficial until they are canvassed by the Carroll County Board of Supervisors.

Ulveling, 41, is a Carroll native and 1996 Kuemper Catholic High School graduate who currently works part-time as a pediatric pharmacist at Children’s Hospital and Medical Center in Omaha. Her husband, Kyle Ulveling, is a cardiologist at St. Anthony Regional Hospital in Carroll. Their two sons, Jack and James, attend Kuemper schools.

Her election comes amid heightened tensions between the public and parochial school communities over a new athletic stadium paid for by a bond referendum that both districts supported. However, some Kuemper supporters were angered that the stadium wasn’t branded more neutrally, and they were further irked when the public school board doubled the rates Kuemper pays to use the stadium.

Ulveling centered her campaign on the importance of community. As a board member, she said, she wants to represent not only the Carroll Community School District but the entire Carroll community.

“I will do my best to serve the whole community in a way that promotes academic excellence, transparency and fiscal responsibility,” Ulveling said.

In the next few weeks, Ulveling said she will be attending an Iowa Association of School Boards conference to learn more about serving on a board as she steps into her role.

“I would like to thank everybody that took the time to ask me questions, for the advice and just in general for showing me support throughout the campaign,” she said. “I will do my best to represent our entire community.”

Karen Friedlein, 58, was appointed to the board last spring after former school board member Gina Badding resigned in April due to her appointment as an Iowa district court judge. She’s spent the last months learning the ins and outs of how the school board operates.

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.

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 also push the district forward as technology continues to evolve.

Friedlein said she is ready to continue her work as a school board member and get to know the new members of the board.

“It’s a whole new group of individuals to work with,” she said. “I look forward to getting to know them — I think everyone has a passion and works as a team — (and) continuing to help with transparency at the meetings and help people see what they want to see (happen). I am very thankful to the community for allowing me to serve. I look forward to looking forward to working with the faculty.”

Cindy Johnson, 63, the head pastor of St. John Lutheran Church in Carroll, said that as a board member, she hopes to bring a greater transparency to the board.

“I have said from the beginning, I want our board more transparent,” Johnson said. “I want better minutes. I think that’s going to happen. I am excited for the children of the Carroll Community District. I am so impressed with the other two (candidates) that won, and I am just excited.”

Johnson, whose granddaughter Ryan is in sixth grade at Carroll Middle School, said she looks forward to working with both Ulveling and Friedlein on the board and is ready to learn about her duties as a board member.

“I think it’s going to be a great team,” she said.

Jon Sampson, the board’s former vice president, was seeking re-election for his second term on the school board. Jorgensen also was seeking re-election after completing his first term. Neither candidate could be reached to comment for this article, and both have declined to comment in previous campaign articles.

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