Candidates for South Central Zone Vacancies



Karla Beck, Redwood Area
While individual districts and people can raise awareness of the realities of teaching and learning in rural communities, MREA brings a unifying power to our voices. As Director of Teaching and Learning in a rural school and as a partner in our family’s agricultural operation I have utilized MREA’s resources, news, and information for strong discussions with educators and community members, and the maps have played a role in explaining funding and resource allocation, particularly in times of levy and referendum votes. As demographic shifts continue to create policy and funding inequities, MREA’s strong voice in policy creation and adoption must be maintained and advanced.

Susan Knutson, West Central Area
My 27 years in public education includes Emotional Behavioral Disorder Teacher and 504 Coordinator, CTE/Perkins and ADSIS coordinator, Concurrent Enrollment Liaison, Licensed School Counselor, Alternative Learner Program, and most recently as WCA 5-12 Principal. It is our responsibility to make sure Minnesota politicians understand the unique needs of rural school districts when creating education policy. Current labor shortages are an undeniable indicator of the need to support robust CTE and concurrent enrollment programs and partnerships. Rural Education has some of the finest examples of innovative programming and should be recognized with appropriate funding and representation.

Charles Rick, Perpich Center for Arts Education
My career in PreK-12 education includes 35+ years as a superintendent, principal, and teacher, and now Executive Director of PCAE for 3 years. I have served as an adjunct professor for two MN colleges and directed Graduate Studies for the Educational Specialist Degree at UMD. The number one priority for me has always been about the children. Most of the schools I have worked with are in rural MN and have given me a deep understanding of the role schools play. I would use my experiences to advance the mission of MREA working with others who share a similar vision. Serving on the MREA Board of Directors would be another way to continue my journey as a lifelong learner.

Mike Rowe, Maple Lake
I have spent the last 18 years teaching and being an administrator in Minnesota rural schools. Since becoming a Superintendent, I have always been a member of MREA because they have the best interest in helping rural schools succeed. My main reason for running for this open board position is to assist MREA in providing equity in education for smaller schools. I appreciate your consideration.

Steven Sterud, Lac qui Parle Valley
I’m the Community Education Director and have been for the past ten years with a strong interest in moving forward Pre-K through 12th grade rural education. I feel that my qualifications as a community education director and being a part of a rural community for many years will be an asset to your organization.


Tammy Roth, Morris
I have been a member of the MREA Board for the last two years as the teacher representative of South Central and would like to serve a full term. It has been a surreal two years. Who knew that “ZOOM” communicating would truly jettison us into the future? Expanding our ways of communication has helped those of us in rural America have a voice when we had been kept from the discussion table. I have spent 27 years at Morris Area practicing school counseling PreK-12 and have held professional leadership positions in our teacher’s union locally and at the state level as well as on the regional and state MN School Counselors Association’s governing boards.

Natalie Schoenbauer, West Central Area
My heart is in the rural area and creating more opportunities for students while in school and going forward as they leave. We’ve been fortunate to have many students return to raise their own families. Therefore, it’s vital to keep providing quality educational opportunities so our students are ready to be the next generation of innovators and problem solvers committed to their community. I went back to school and became an educator, teaching grades 1-12 in my 19 years of teaching, as well as serving as our local EA President, facilitating accommodations and modifications training, coaching girls’ basketball and Knowledge Bowl, and graduating from the Blandin Leadership training program.