Serving Our Schools and Community

The Johnston Community School District Board of Education is made up of seven elected community members and two student representatives. Board elections are held every two years, and those elected serve a four-year term. Each board member brings a unique perspective to the district and uses background experiences, current practice, and feedback from district stakeholders to guide their decision-making process. The Johnston Board of Education works closely with the Iowa Association of School Boards to ensure compliance on all matters. 

Below are more details about our school board members and how to contact them. Please note that it is not the practice of the Johnston Community School District to redact names or email addresses from general correspondence to the school district. Emails sent to board members and employees of the district will be considered public records under the Iowa Open Records Law and subject to disclosure unless it is a protected student or personnel record, or subject to attorney-client privilege.


Jennifer ChamberlandJennifer Chamberland, Board President 
Term expires 2027

Jennifer is a native Iowan who moved back after a spending a decade on the East Coast. She attended the University of Iowa, and has a background in accounting, finance, and federal law enforcement.

Her children are at varying education levels, with a wide age range, which provides a unique opportunity to experience the district from multiple perspectives.

Prior to moving back to Iowa, Jennifer served on her local school board. She has served the Johnston community using her strengths in budgeting and policy making, as well as working to efficiently and effectively move the district forward. Jennifer was elected to the board in 2019 and re-elected in 2023

Contact Jennifer:


Soneeta Mangra Dutcher

Soneeta Mangra-Dutcher, Board Vice President
Term expires 2027

Soneeta and her family moved to Johnston in 2009 from Des Moines.

She is the executive director of of MD Girls Consulting Services and previously served as Director of Mission Services for Goodwill of Central Iowa, and Operations Director at Central Iowa Works, United Way of Central Iowa. Before that, Soneeta was a GED instructor and the Adult Literacy program consultant at Des Moines Area Community College.

Soneeta graduated from DMACC with her associates degree and Upper Iowa University with a bachelors in psychology. Outside of working with employers, community organizations and job seekers at CIW, Soneeta mentors young adults earning an alternative high school diploma with Iowa NetHigh Academy, leads a suicide prevention and mental health awareness organization, Stand for the Silent Central Iowa and co-leads the Polk County Suicide Prevention Coalition.

Soneeta said her most important role is as a mom. She spends as much time as she can growing, learning and experiencing life with her three daughters Kitarrah (JHS 2017), Sierrah (JHS 2020), and Marandah (JHS 2021). Soneeta was elected to the board in 2019 and re-elected in 2023.

Contact Soneeta:


Jason arnold

Jason Arnold, Board Member
Term expires 2027

Jason is a community advocate who started working in Johnston a little over 23 years ago, and has lived in the district since 2012. He and his wife reside in Urbandale and have two children, who are in the 7th and 9th grades.

Jason has a bachelor’s in computer science from Drake University. His resume includes more than 25 years of web development, enterprise content management, and enterprise collaboration experience both on-premise and cloud solutions. He currently works as a cloud architect for Bankers Trust, and previously worked as a Sharepoint developer at Kim & Go, and as a senior application developer at Pioneer Hi-Bred International.

Prior to being elected to the school board, Jason was active in the Timber Ridge PTO for eight years, serving on their board for six years. He has also been involved in the School Improvement Advisory Committee (SIAC).

Contact Jason:


Deb Davis

Deb Davis, Board Member
Term expires 2025

Deb and her husband, Greg, have lived in Johnston for 25 years. Their two sons attended K-12 in the Johnston schools. Deb has a chemistry degree from the University of Northern Iowa, and worked as a Forensic Scientist specializing in Toxicology for the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation Laboratory for 32 years.

Serving the community has been important to Deb since her children were young. She has been a Cub Scout leader, an Awana leader, a weekly volunteer in her sons’ elementary classrooms, the founder of PURPOSE – Johnston, administrator of Pray Iowa, counselor in the Polk County Jail Ministry and a volunteer for the Polk County Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) team. Deb was elected to the board in 2021.

Contact Deb:


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Clint Evans, Board Member
Term expires 2025

Clint and his wife Lori moved to the district in the 1988 and reside in Urbandale. He has a marketing degree from the University of Iowa and is currently an Account Executive Team Leader for a local Mechanical Services Provider.

Clint has actively served the community as a coach in several youth sports, coordinated and volunteered at OverTime activities after home football games, FCA Speaker, Catalyst Speaker, and hosted a student bible study in their home for over 5 years that served hundreds of high school students from several surrounding schools in addition to Johnston.

Clint is honored to serve on the board because of his love for students and the belief that a strong school is the cornerstone of a strong community. Time outside of work and serving is spent hunting, biking, and spending time with grandkids.

Contact Clint:



Derek Tidball, Board Member
Term expires 2025

Derek is a native Iowan, leaving Des Moines shortly after high school to serve in the U.S. Army.  He and his family returned in 2016 and chose a home based solely on its access to the Johnston School District. Their daughter, a 4th grader, takes classes at Timber Ridge elementary.

After his military service he used his GI Bill to obtain a degree in Public Administration from Indiana University, where he graduated with honors. He currently works in the energy sector as a pipeline operator for a petroleum pipeline company.

He looks forward to working with the board to keep Johnston a destination for parents seeking exceptional academics and making sure those parents and their teachers have a voice on the board. Derek was elected to the board in 2021.

Contact Derek:


Lya Williams

Lya Williams, Board Member
Term expires 2027

Lya has lived in the Johnston school district for 23 years. She is married and is a stay-at-home mom to a son who attends Johnston schools.

Lya is a graduate of a Historically Black College and University (HBCU). She has a bachelor’s degree in agriculture and biosystems engineering from North Carolina Agricultural and State University. She previously worked with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, as an agricultural engineer in Maryland, as a civil engineer in Des Moines, and in Ottumwa.

Having served as the only Black female engineer in her agency for the state of Iowa, Lya is an advocate for STEM education, encouraging students to pursue careers in science and math. She is active in several community groups and is also an advocate for diversity and equity in schools.

Prior to being elected to the school board, Lya was involved with the Horizon PTO, the district’s School Improvement Advisory Committee (SIAC) and Equity Committee.

Contact Lya:


Unnamed 21Abby Harris, Student Representative
Term expires 2024

Abby is a senior at Johnston High School who is one of two student representatives on the Johnston Board of Education for the 2023-2024 school year. She has attended Johnston schools since kindergarten and is a Lawson alumni.

At the high school, she is involved in student council, silver cord, National Honor Society, mock trial, cross country, soccer, student ambassadors, Shelf Awareness, and peer tutoring. She is also a student representative on the social, emotional, behavioral and mental health school improvement advisory committee, and served on the superintendent advisory council in 2021-2022.

Outside of high school, Abby works at the Blank Park Zoo and Rusty Stars Alpacas. She is a graduate of the 2023 Youth Leadership Initiative Program and was the Youth Call to Action speaker at the Lead DSM graduation program in 2023.

Contact Abby:


Laura ThangiLaura Thangi, Student Representative
Term expires 2024

Laura is a senior at Johnston High School who is one of two student representatives to the Johnston Board of Education for the 2023-2024 school year.

She currently serves as the JHS Student Council vice president and a facilitator for Johnston’s C.O.R.E. (Community Of Racial Equity) chapter. She also competes on the varsity Academic Decathalon team, making it all the way to state in spring 2023. She also works as a para-sub at Timber Ridge and as a teaching intern at Horizon, driven by her passion to become a teacher post-graduation.

Beyond the classroom you can find her reading a good book, hanging out with her friends, or continuing her quest to find the best iced latte. In addition, she loves going downtown and shopping at locally owned businesses.

Contact Laura: