Four men are running for three at-large seats on the Cromwell-Wright School Board this fall.

Incumbents Brian Granholm and Tim Homstad are seeking reelection, while Bruce Schoenberg and Tristan Johnson are seeking their first terms.

The Cromwell-Wright School District is a mail ballot precinct and any resident registered to vote before Oct. 13 was mailed a ballot automatically. Mail and absentee ballots postmarked by Nov. 3 will be counted up to seven days after Election Day.

Early voting is already underway from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday at the Carlton County Courthouse. In addition, early voting at the courthouse will be available from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 31, and from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Nov. 2.

On election day, mail ballot voters can vote from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Carlton County Courthouse, 301 Walnut Ave., Carlton.

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Brian Granholm (i)

Brian Granholm was first elected to the Cromwell-Wright School Board in 2016. He did not respond to multiple requests to participate by the Pine Journal.

Tim Homstad (i)

Tim Homstad
Tim Homstad

Tim Homstad was first elected to the Cromwell-Wright School Board in 2016. He is employed by Lenny Conklin State Farm in Cloquet. Homstad and his wife, Victoria, have three adult children and 13 grandchildren.

What do you think of the current school board's performance?

I believe as a group or diverse people with a wide and varied background, we have worked very well together for the good of our students and district. Over the past couple years we have been asked to make some tough decisions and tasked with getting our new industrial arts expansion built and furnished with some state-of-the art equipment. We have listened to one another without preconceived ideas or judgments and have come to consensus and ultimately decisions that were the best for all parties concerned.

If reelected, what will your priorities be as a board member?

Communication. Getting accurate information to the district is paramount to success and that is sometimes the greatest challenge any board faces. The court of public opinion will quickly decide what is or isn’t even with only a portion of the information needed to pass judgment. Some people like to “armchair quarterback,” but not everyone wants to get out on the field and play the game.

What are the biggest challenges and opportunities for Cromwell-Wright?

Obviously the onset of a worldwide pandemic has brought with it huge challenges to our local district. But we have seen our administrative staff, teachers, paras, cooks and janitors rise to meet that challenge.

One of the greatest opportunities we have is keeping up with the ever-changing educational requirements and modalities. When I was in school it was the three “Rs.” Now it is that, and we are called on to provide emotional, nutritional and mental health support. Our challenge is not only to make sure that we make the best use of the finances allotted to us to be able to provide the best possible educational experience and get our students on the pathway to success, but also looking further down the road to see what is on the horizon and being farsighted enough to look past just what is in front of us.

Tristan Johnson

Tristan Johnson is seeking his first term on the Cromwell-Wright School Board. He did not respond to multiple requests to participate by the Pine Journal.

Bruce Schoenberg

Bruce Schoenberg
Bruce Schoenberg

Bruce Schoenberg is a retired forester for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. He has lived in Cromwell since 1976 with his wife, Kiiri. He has two adult children and a son attending high school at Cromwell-Wright.

This is his first run for elected office.

What do you think of the current school board's performance?

I think they did a good job moving on after the last referendum effort to go ahead with the recent addition and rework plans for future upgrades to the school facilities.

I think the recent efforts of the school board, administration and school staff dealing with the pandemic situation is a challenge that they all handled well.

If elected, what will your priorities be as a board member?

Maintaining fiscal responsibility and strengthening the educational offerings. I would address these issues by carefully considering the options available, soliciting input from teachers and administrative staff and casting my votes for what seem to be the best solutions.

What are the biggest challenges and opportunities for Cromwell-Wright?

It is a small school. Funding limitations and a relatively small student population create challenges to maintain and improve the school and to provide a good balance of course offerings and sufficient participation for other activities like band, choir and sports. These challenges create opportunities to draw upon the creativity, resourcefulness and energy of a supportive community that includes the school board, school staff and administration, parents and students.

The COVID situation adds a whole new type of challenge that will continue to require innovation, flexibility and patience for some time yet.