Other Rural News

New and Incumbent Directors Elected to MREA Board

By January 10, 2016 No Comments

MREA’s membership elected two new and re-elected four incumbent directors to the MREA Board of Directors during the December voting period. The Board also appointed a new Higher Education representative, bringing a total of three new faces to the Board.

New Directors

Dennis Laumeyer
At-Large Representative, South Central Zone

Laumeyer is in his third year as Superintendent with Benson Public Schools. He has worked in education for my 25 years, as a teacher, elementary principal, and high school principal. He currently serves on the Executive Council and the Special Education Advisory Board for Southwest-West Central Service Cooperative.


Jerry Ness
Administrator Representative, North Central Zone

Ness started in education as a business teacher in Herman-Norcross. He later became a principal and now is in his 10th year as superintendent of the Fergus Falls school district. He has also been an MREA Board director and chair, prior to serving as MREA’s Executive Director 10  years ago.


Dr. Tarrell Awe Agahe Portman
Higher Education Representative, Southern Minnesota

Portman has been the Dean of the College of Education at Winona State University since July 2014. Prior to that, she worked at the University of Iowa in the College of Education. She has also been a National Holmes Scholar, National Indian Fellow for the Department of Education in Washington, D.C., a secondary school counselor, and a hospital mental health counselor. She was appointed by the MREA Board.

Returning Directors

Brandon Borich
Teacher Representative, North Central Zone

Borich is a high school science teacher, football coach and club advisor with Princeton School District. A teacher for 13 years, he has served in numerous leadership roles including union building representative, teacher instructional coach, and College-in-the-Schools teacher. He was appointed to the Board last fall to complete a mid-year teacher vacancy and is now elected to a 3-year term.

Lee Carlson
Teacher Representative, South Zone

Carlson is a high school English teacher and track coach with St. James Public School as well as a football coach for Cedar Mountain-Comfrey. He has taught and coached at Kimball and Sebeka schools. Active with Education Minnesota and Minnesota Minority Education Partnership, Carlson also serves as Continuous Improvement Specialist for St. James.

Todd Holthaus
Administrator Representative, South Zone

Holthaus has been Superintendent of Hills-Beaver Creek (HBC) since 2012 and also serves as K-12 Principal. He has worked in St. Cloud, Albany, Avon and Jackson schools. As superintendent, he facilitated the district’s participation in a Flexible Learning Year (FLY) Initiative and helped achieve a 60 percent approval rate for a special operating referendum vote.

Mike Vasek
School Board Representative, North Zone

Vasek was first elected to the MREA Board for 2012-15.  He has served on the Fisher Board of Education for nine years, currently as Chair, and was MREA Board President in 2014. A father of four school-age children, he owns a construction company in Fisher.

Board to Elect Executive Committee in March

Election results were effective January 1, and new members will formally join the Board at the March meeting in St. Paul. The Board will elect the President-Elect and Secretary/Treasurer positions and appoint the fifth member of the Executive Committee. Jeremy Kovash, Director of Lakes Country Service Cooperative, replaces Dr. Chris Mills, Higher Education Representative with Minnesota State University – Moorhead, as Board President. Learn more about Kovash.