Dianne Mathews // Chair

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Ms. Dianne Mathews

Dianne Mathews was appointed to the Board of Education in the spring of 2014 to fill a vacated position. She was elected to the Board in the fall of 2014 and is in her second term. She has a Masters Degree in Environmental Engineering from Michigan Technological University and is a Professional Engineer at the Western Lake Superior Sanitary District.  She is currently serving as the Board Chair, a position to which she was elected in January of 2017.

Dianne was raised on the Iron Range and chose Hermantown to live due to the reputation and quality of the school and community. Dianne and her husband, Ben, have three children, one Hermantown graduate and two Hawks, still in the nest.

Dianne is proud of the work done by each and every ISD700 staff member to ensure the safety and quality education of our students.  Communication with, and involvement of the entire community continues to fuel progress which includes construction of the new high school and learning center, renovations to the elementary/middle schools and athletic facilities, the partnership with the City of Hermantown and the Essentia Health and Wellness Center, development of a comprehensive strategic plan, and educating through a pandemic. 

Committee Assignments:
Facilities
MSHSL Disciplinary Hearings
Essentia Regional Health and Wellness Center
Policy
Audit

Timothy Peterson // Vice Chair

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Mr. Timothy Peterson

Tim and his wife Sandi have lived in Hermantown for 28 years and are lifelong residents of St. Louis County.  Janna, Ross and Marcie, their children, graduated from Hermantown and two of their grandchildren will soon be attending Hermantown schools.  He was elected to the Board in November, 2018.

He recently retired from ALLETE, Inc.  (Minnesota Power) as their Senior Manager, Corporate Development, working with the company to diversify their business through acquisitions of other energy related companies. Prior to ALLETE, he was a Director, Consulting Services for RSM, Inc., a national CPA and Consulting Firm. Tim has a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting and a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA), both from the University of Minnesota, Duluth.  Tim has also served as an Adjunct Instructor for UMD and Bemidji State University teaching courses in finance, information technology and business administration.

He is very pleased to be a new member of a School Board committed to continuing the excellence in education his children experienced at Hermantown. He hopes his background in finance and strategic planning will lend value to the Board in navigating some of the crucial issues the district currently faces as they strive towards providing exceptional educational opportunities for our students and community.

Committee Assignments
Arena Board
Staff Development; Curriculum; Technology Integration
Naming of Facilities or Educational Spaces
Multi-activity Facility

Heather Holst // Clerk

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Ms. Heather Holst

Heather was elected to her first term during the General Election of 2020. 

Heather works as a Social Studies Teacher at Marshall School and as a Real Estate Salesperson with Edina Realty. She grew up in the Duluth area, graduating from East High School. Heather completed her undergraduate degree at Winona State University in Social Science History for Secondary Education. It was at Winona that she met her husband John. John was commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Navy in the Health Professions Scholarship Program to continue his studies in the field of medicine at Des Moines University. During his commitment to the Navy, Heather and John resided in Iowa, Ohio, Virginia, Florida, Okinawa Japan, California, and Maryland before returning to Minnesota. Heather was a licensed teacher in all of those states and for the Department of Defense. Heather also spent a year as a Civilian Family Readiness Officer for the Marine Corps while in San Diego. While living in the Baltimore area, Heather earned her Masters Degree in Geography and Environmental Planning from Towson University. Upon returning to the area in 2013, Heather began working for Marshall School. In 2016 she earned her Real Estate Salesperson license in MN and added WI in 2020.

John and Heather, along with their twin daughters moved to Hermantown in 2015. They are also foster parents. 

Heather’s passion for education and opening the lines of communication was a motivating factor in running for the board. “I see many opportunities to enhance communication with the public. If this pandemic has taught us anything, it is that education, both academic and social-emotional, is pertinent to the well being of our young people. As a board we need to directly relay decisions and the rationale behind them to the Hermantown Community. Clear communication will go a long way in garnering support, involvement, and understanding.”

Committee Assignments:
Staff Development; Curriculum; Technology
Naming of Facilities or Educational Spaces
Parent Teacher Organization
MSBA Legislation  

Gary Kneisl // Treasurer

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Mr. Gary Kneisl

Gary grew up in south central MN and attended high school at Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg. In high school he played football, baseball, wrestled, and was a member of the track team. He was also involved in the agricultural and industrial tech clubs. He attended one year of college at Ridgewater College where he wrestled and was named an Academic All American. Following that experience, he moved to Duluth and attended the University of Minnesota Duluth where he achieved a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Marketing. Gary worked in sales for a few years and then took a job in corrections. That gave him an interest in being a police officer and was hired by the Superior Police Department. Mr. Kneisl worked there for a little over 3 years and was then hired by the Hermantown Police Department in October of 2017.
 
Gary Kneisl has lived in or around Hermantown since 2008 and is married to wife, Holly.  The Kneisls have 3 children, all of whom are enrolled in Hermantown schools. 
 
"I love this community and want to do whatever I can to continue its tradition of quality living. I look forward to serving on the school board to ensure each child of the community gets the best, quality education they can." 

Committee Assignments
Parks and Recreation
Facilities
Multi-Activity Facility
Audit
Arena (Alternate)

Lindsay Clauson

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Ms. Lindsay Clauson

Lindsay was elected to her first term during the General Election of 2020. 

She is originally from Fairmont, a small community in southern Minnesota. She graduated from Fairmont High School and attended the University of St. Thomas earning an undergraduate degree in Health Promotion. She lived and worked in the Twin Cities metro area for a number of years before meeting her husband Jon and moving to the Northland. Her move prompted a change in careers which culminated in earning a Graduate Teacher Licensure from the College of Saint Scholastica and a kindergarten position at Duluth Edison North Star Academy. After five years of kindergarten and first grade at Duluth Edison Charter Schools, Lindsay moved to the Proctor School District where she has been for the last three years. She currently teaches first grade at Pike Lake Elementary.

Lindsay and her husband Jon have lived in Hermantown since 2015. Jon is a Hermantown native and works full time for the 148th Fighter Wing, which is part of the Minnesota Air National Guard. Lindsay and Jon have three children who attend Hermantown Elementary School. 

Lindsay is excited to continue to make Hermantown a great place to live and learn. She is hoping her diverse background in and outside education will be a benefit to the board. 

Committee Assignments:
Community Education 
Extracurricular
Policy              

Ashley McFarland

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Ms. Ashley McFarland

Ashley was elected to her first term during the General Election of 2020. 

Ashley is originally from northeast Iowa, and before moving to Hermantown in 2018, lived in both northern Idaho and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. She has a B.S. in Political Science and Environmental Studies, and an M.S. in Environmental Science from Iowa State University. She has spent the majority of her career working in academia through cooperative extension conducting research in natural resources and agriculture, and developing outreach programs as an extension of the university. Currently, she serves as executive director of Dovetail Partners, an environmental nonprofit based in Minneapolis. She resides with her husband James, who works for the U.S. Forest Service, and Hermantown students Leah and Tyler.
 
Ashley hopes to bring her various experiences in formal and non-formal education to Hermantown schools to support student learning and to expand opportunities throughout the district. 

Committee Assignments:
Extracurricular
MSHSL Disciplinary Hearings
Multi-activity Facility
Hermantown Legacy Fund