Meet School Board Candidates at the Oct. 15 Public Forum

Voters in the Johnston Community School District can meet the nine school board candidates and hear their opinions on school issues at an upcoming public forum on Tuesday, Oct. 15 from 6-8 p.m. at the Wallace Elementary Auditorium (6207 NW 62nd Ave, Johnston).

School board elections will take place on November 5, 2019 – the same time as general elections. There are four open seats on the school board, vacated by Greg Dockum, Jill Morrill, Deb Henry, and Marci Cordaro. All community members are encouraged to attend the forum or live stream it to become familiar with each candidate before heading to the polls.


Meet the 2019 Johnston Board of Education Candidates

Jason ArnoldJason Arnold
Contact Jason:

Jason and his wife, Beth, have lived in the Johnston Community School District since 2012. They have two children currently in the school district: Bri (5th grader at Timber Ridge Elementary) and Izzy (3rd grader at Timber Ridge Elementary). Jason has his Bachelors of Science in Computer Science from Drake University and is currently employed as a SharePoint Solutions Architect at Bankers Trust. Jason and Beth have been very involved with the Timber Ridge Elementary PTO. They are active in multiple PTO committees, served as PTO secretary, and for the last two years were co-presidents. Jason’s primary interest in running for school board is to provide representation for elementary school families and to ensure the success of every student.


Jennifer ChamberlandJennifer Chamberland
Contact Jennifer:

Jennifer is a native Iowan who recently 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 looks forward to serving the Johnston community through her strengths in budgeting and policy making, as well as working to efficiently and effectively move the district forward.


ClevengerAlicia Clevenger
Contact Alicia:
Facebook: Alicia Clevenger for Johnston School Board

Alicia Clevenger is a proud mom to three kids in the Johnston Community School District. She and her husband, Jason, chose to move to Johnston over 15 years ago with great schools being the motivating factor. Henry (11) and Mira (8) attend Beaver Creek Elementary and Maggie (4) attends Johnston Early Learning Academy.

Alicia’s background is in healthcare, with a Biochemistry Degree from Southern Illinois University, Doctorate of Chiropractic from Palmer College and postgraduate work becoming a Board Certified Pediatric Chiropractor. She has been in private practice for 16 years and loves working and interacting with kids. In more recent years she practices part time, works from home and owns two small businesses.

Community service is very important to Alicia and her family. They have served the Johnston community through their children’s activities for almost a decade. Alicia has been a Big Sister through Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Iowa and a speaker on behalf of Iowa Donor Network. Volunteering in her children’s classrooms has given her first hand appreciation of Johnston schools. She has also had the opportunity to be the homeroom parent for her children’s classes every year as well as a PTO committee chair.

Alicia’s goal in running for Johnston School Board is to continue to build on the quality of education that made her family choose this wonderful community.


Katie Fiala Cropped HeadshotKatie Fiala
Contact Katie:
Facebook: Katie Fiala for Johnston School Board

Katie Fiala, and her husband Austin, are both Johnston graduates (class of 2004). Their twins will start kindergarten next year, and their youngest attends Johnston Early Learning Academy. Katie received her law degree from the University of Iowa College of Law and undergraduate degree from Iowa State University. She has worked as an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Iowa since 2013, and has worked in public service for her entire career. Katie is an active supporter of community youth activities and currently serves on the Johnston Public Library Board of Directors. She is running for the school board to offer to serve the community with a collaborative approach towards the work of the board. On a personal level, she will be closely involved with the district with her three young children over the next 15 years. She looks forward to working with the entire board to continue Johnston’s tradition of excellence.


David GrayDavid Gray
Contact David:

David grew up in Johnston and graduated from Johnston High School in 1998. He and his wife, Angie, have lived in the Johnston Community School District since 2004. They have two daughters, Isabella and Gianna, that attend Wallace Elementary. He attended the University of Northern Iowa and earned a bachelor’s degree in Communications. David’s background is in business and sales.



SKenney LGStephen Kenney
Contact Stephen:

Stephen has lived in the Johnston Community School District since 2011 and graduated from Panorama High School in 1994. Stephen is a graduate of Iowa State University with a BS in Finance and Brandeis University with a Masters in Finance and has worked for an agricultural private equity firm for the last two years and prior to that, John Hancock for 13 years. Since moving back to Iowa from Boston, Stephen has been active in the Johnston Girls Softball Association as a coach and board member, Johnston Basketball Club and Johnston Soccer Club as a coach, Johnston Booster Club, and has an interest in the family farming operation in Guthrie and Greene County. He has two daughters, Sydney, a sophomore and Kaley, a 7th grader.


Jerry Kinder Board PicJerry Kinder
Contact Jerry:

Jerry Kinder has lived in the Johnston District since 1986 when he moved to central Iowa to attend the Drake Law School. He began coaching in the Johnston District that same year, and then became a full-time classroom teacher at JHS in 1991, while maintaining a part-time legal practice. He retired from the classroom in 2017 after 26 years at JHS and retired from his law practice in 2018. Jerry earned a Bachelor’s degree in History from Wartburg College, a Master’s degree in Educational Administration from Drake University, and a law degree from the Drake Law School. He still helps the JHS Boys Tennis program as an assistant coach. He has also been a long-time sports official in basketball and football. Jerry hopes to use his extensive experience as a teacher and coach, and his experiences in school law and finance to be an effective board member for the Johnston school community.


Soneeta Mangra DutcherSoneeta Mangra-Dutcher
Contact Soneeta:

Soneeta and her family moved to Johnston in 2009 from Des Moines. Soneeta is the Operations Director at Central Iowa Works, United Way of Central Iowa. She has been with CIW since September 2012. 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’s most important role is mom and 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).


Lane Sires PhotoLane Sires
Contact Lane:
Facebook: Lane Sires for Johnston School Board

Lane is a 1994 graduate of Johnston High School. He and his wife Kacie have two children, Cadence (9th grader at Johnston Middle School) and Tyson (5th grader at Beaver Creek Elementary). Lane received his MBA degree from Drake University. He has been employed at a financial services company headquartered in Des Moines for 19 years, currently as a Senior Relationship Manager for institutional retirement plan clients. He serves on the Johnston Little League Board and has previously been an assistant football and baseball coach for the Johnston Community School District. Lane is interested in serving on the Johnston school board to use his financial background to help the district make fiscally responsible decisions and to continue Johnston’s tradition of academic excellence. He is looking forward to the opportunity to give back to the community that has given so much to him.

REMEMBER: Voters in the Johnston Community School District are encouraged to attend a School Board Candidate Forum on Tuesday, October 15 from 6-8 p.m. at the Wallace Elementary Auditorium, 6207 NW 62nd Ave, Johnston.