Get to know who's running for the Perry School Board

Allison Ullmann
Perry Chief

Three individuals will appear on the ballot for the Perry School Board.

Three candidates, including one incumbent, are running for two open seats on the school board.

The election is Nov. 2. Polls are open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Editor's note: Candidates' responses have been lightly edited for clarity and length.

Kyle Baxter (incumbent)

Kyle Baxter

Age: 37

Office sought: Perry School Board

Where they grew up: Perry, Iowa

Where they currently live: Perry, Iowa

Community experience: 8 years on Perry School Board with 6 years as Board President, Past Iowa Skills USA board of directors with 2 years as Board President, Perry Jr Jay Wrestling board member, Volunteer coach for JR Jay Wrestling, Perry youth football and Perry Little League, Countless hours of volunteer work for various fundraisers for student activities, Local business owner

Eddie Diaz

Eddie Diaz

Office sought: Perry School Board 

Where they grew up: Raised in California but Eddie has called Iowa home for the past 25 years. His parents moved his family to Perry when he was 15 years old and he graduated from Perry High School in 1997. His wife Angelica graduated from Perry High School in 1999 and they are fortunate to have siblings and parents living in Perry.

Where they currently live: Perry, Iowa

Community experience: Eddie has 3 children in Perry schools and is active in community groups, economic development, and youth coaching. He served as a city councilman in Perry and is seeking a seat on the Perry School Board.  

Bio: Eddie Diaz graduated from Iowa State University with a degree in political science when he briefly thought about pursuing law school. Instead, Eddie chose the nonprofit and education route as his career path and obtained a Master's degree in teaching from Drake University after which he briefly taught in DMPS before returning to his alma mater and teaching high school economics, history and government. Eddie eventually returned to Drake University to obtain a graduate degree in educational leadership and was a school principal before moving on to a career in higher education.  

Prior to graduating from college, Eddie served in the United States Marine Corps for over 6 years and had one tour of duty in Operation Iraqi Freedom as an infantryman during the 2004-2005 years that were some of the most violent of the entire war. The chaos and violence of war led to Eddie greater appreciation of the prosperity and opportunities that the United States offers and he hopes to build on the foundation that Americans before have left for us. 

Top issues:

  1. Family Engagement: Of all the factors that impact student educational outcomes, family engagement is at the top of the list. For example, research shows that students who have parents that read to them when they are young have an expanded vocabulary, better reading skills, and improved cognitive skills that are important to future success. The question I would ask as a board member is:  What do we do to increase family participation in student's education and how do we increase it? For far too long teachers and other educators have been asked to carry the burden for much of society to build the next generation when it is clearly a team effort with families and the communities that they teach in.  
  2. Academic Rigor: Rigor refers to a standard of excellence that teachers, administrators and families expect of their students. These standards are made clear to students, families, and the community and are set so that the bar is high for all students with academic support for those students who need additional assistance. This helps students develop skills that help them lead a successful life and helps our country compete in a hyper-competitive world. 
  3. Retention, Recruitment, and Development of High Quality Teachers: In his book "Visible Learning," John Hattie studied the factors within a school that greatly impact student achievement and not surprisingly effective teachers showed the greatest impact on student outcomes. Our educators are valuable resources and should be treated accordingly. We should invest in retaining the best teachers, recruit teachers that want to teach and live in our community and develop them to make the greatest impact on our children.  

Travis Landgrebe

Travis Landgrebe

Office sought: Perry School Board

Where they grew up: Graduated from Oskaloosa High School in 1998 and went to school at Iowa State University.

Where they currently live: I have worked at Fareway for 25 years and my family and I have made Perry home since 2011. 

Community experience: I have been an active member of the Perry community with my involvement in the chamber of commerce, elks lodge #407, Perry Little League and many other organizations that my kids are involved in. Working at Fareway has given me the opportunity to work with young adults within the Perry Community. I am passionate about ensuring their success both as young adults and as they grow into their adult life.