Three will earn six-year terms in Imlay City

IMLAY CITY — A hefty field of candidates in the Imlay City School district want to serve on the school board.

In total, seven candidates have filed to fill three open seats and on Nov. 3 voters will determine who those three will be. The top vote getters will each earn a six year term on the board, starting in 2021.

Names appearing on the ballot include incumbents Kaylee Kaeding, Rev. Dr. Marcel Lamb and Dr. Laura Zelenak. Challengers are Alex Lengemann, William Lengemann, Matt Parsch and Carm Ross.

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Kaylee Kaeding has served on the board since 2017 when she was appointed to fill a vacancy. She was successful in her 2018 election bid to finish out her current term through 2020.

She is an Imlay City graduate, parent to two current Imlay City students and has volunteered within the schools.

Kaeding said she’s had an interest in the school board since she was a student herself and as a graduate and lifetime resident, she believes it’s an ideal way for her to serve the community.

“Our Imlay City Spartans kids are our ‘now,’ they’re not just ‘the future.’ Our students deserve to have the best in order for them to strive to be the best,” she said.

If elected, Kaeding said her priorities in office would include seeing bond projects to their completion, advocating on behalf of students and staff to help them be successful and serving as a conduit between the community and district.

“I appreciate that people trust me and approach me with their questions and concerns. I want to be one of the voices for our students, staff and community,” she said.

“I would love the opportunity to continue to be a part of the Imlay City School Board to work with great minds that are all working hard for the good of our school district.”

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Rev. Dr. Marcel Lamb has served on the board for the past four years. His daughter is a junior at Imlay City High School and there are a number of district students in his congregation at Imlay City United Methodist Church.

Lamb said he brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the board having studied at the Naval Nuclear Power school and worked in the manufacturing, construction, retail and management sectors in addition to serving as a hospice chaplain and behavioral health counselor.
“These are examples of the many ways I can understand and connect with our students’ many vocational goals,” he said.

“I am seeking this position because I am in Imlay City to serve and this is an area where I can serve well.”

If elected, Lamb said his priorities in a new term would focus on excellence in education, specifically, to facilitate optimum opportunities for all students.

Additionally, he feels it’s important to help navigate the challenges posed by COVID-19 and others that come the district’s way.

“One of my chief goals is to bring no other agenda than providing the best education and other services to our students.”

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Dr. Laura Zelenak has served on the school board since September when she was appointed to fill the vacancy left by Jim Preisel’s resignation.

She’s the parent of one Imlay City graduate and two current district students and a family physician for the greater Imlay City community.

“I want to maintain a board that continues to have our students best interests at the heart of every decision,” Zelenak said of her desire to serve on the board.

“I want to be assured that we will maintain quality teachers by supporting their needs.”

In a new term, Zelenak said her priorities as a board member would include continuing to offer and expand upon varied educational opportunities for students while also making fiscally responsible decisions.

She would be committed to ensuring the the well-being of Imlay City students, both emotionally and physically.

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Alex Lengemann is a 1992 graduate of Imlay City High School. Currently he has two children attending Imlay City Middle School. He’s given of his time to the school district through fundraising efforts and served as a youth sports coach.

“I am seeking this seat because with the bond that just passed and the COVID pandemic, this is a pivotal time for our schools. I want to do my part to ensure the schools maintain safety but still provide top quality education whether remotely or in person,” he said.

Alex Lengemann believes fresh, new voices are needed on the board to better facilitate a diversity of ideas.

If elected, Alex Lengemann said his priorities in office would include growing enrollment and finding new sources of revenue.

“With my extensive marketing and sales experience, I believe I am uniquely qualified to create a campaign that can attract new students to our schools. We can also utilize collaboration with local or national businesses to increase our revenue outside of the general funding from the state,” he said.

He’d also work to ensure all student’s needs are being met, mentioning areas like specialized instruction and small learning community models.

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Bill Lengemann is a 1991 graduate of Imlay City High School, parent to three high school students in the district and a longtime volunteer and coach for girls’ basketball. Since 2016, he been a volunteer assistant coach for the varsity girls’ basketball program.

Bill Lengemann said he’s seeking a seat on the board because he believes he’s uniquely qualified to serve having been a high school teacher for 19 years in the Capac and Dryden districts.

“I know how schools work, and I have actually experienced the positive and negative effects of the decisions that a school board makes, and I have witnessed the impact on students, teachers, families, and administrators,” he said.

He also believes his experience as a practicing attorney would benefit the district as it pertains to contract and legal issues.

If elected, Bill Lengemann said his priorities in office would include developing educational collaboration between students and businesses, organizations and colleges and preparing students for the 21st century with integrated teaching and technology.

“I would also want to ensure safety for students, staff, and parents during and beyond the current COVID-19 pandemic while continuing to offer a high-quality and interactive education, athletic program, and band for all willing participants,” he said.

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Matt Parsch is 2002 graduate of Imlay City High School and parent to two sons—one at Borland Elementary and other at the middle school.

“I want to be more involved in the community and I’m at the point where I have to time to do it,” Parsch said of his decision to seek a seat on the board.

If elected, he said he wouldn’t come to his new role with a particular agenda.

“I would focus my efforts on fully understanding the budget process and how the district is funded,” Parsch said.

“I really just want to bring a level-headed, common sense opinion to the board.”

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Carmela Ross is a 1995 graduate of Imlay City High School and parent to three daughters in the district—one in the middle school and two in the high school. She’s volunteered within the district, serves as chair of Project Graduation for the Class of 2021 and recently served on the advisory committee for the 2019 bond proposal.

“I am seeking a seat on our school board because I feel our district could benefit from some new perspective,” she said.

“I believe the combination of my professional and parental perspective would allow me to be a beneficial voice and contributing member of the Imlay City School Board.”

If elected, Ross said her priorities in office would include expanding efforts to ensure the safety of staff and students in light of the pandemic so as to maintain face-to-face learning. She believes it’s important to build on the post-high school preparation program.

“I would like to see the us deepen programs to provide students opportunities to collaborate with career professionals, shadow journeymen for skilled-trade occupations and work with college advisors,” she said.

She would also advocate for identifying and applying for all available funding avenues to provide a successful learning environment, mentioning in particular STEM programming.