Meet Your 2015 School Board Candidates

The regular school election will be held on September 8, 2015. Three (3) seats are up for election on the seven-member Waukee Community School District Board.

Strong leadership in every school district is critical to moving education forward in this state. School board members play significant roles in their communities – members must have leadership, vision and dedication. School board members are locally elected public officials charged with accountability for student learning, determining educational goals, setting policy, overseeing school finances and other duties. Across Iowa, nearly 2,000 men and women serve on local school boards, guiding the education of more than 475,000 young people at an annual expenditure of more than $5.1 billion.

School board members are elected to serve four-year terms, with elections taking place in odd-numbered years. Those elected receive no pay. Experienced school board members say the rewards of service lie in meeting the needs of children and communities.

The filing period for school election candidates ended on Thursday, July 30 at 5 p.m. Nomination papers were delivered to the county auditor on Friday, July 31.

There are five candidates running for the three seats: Susan Bunz (incumbent), Scott Blum, Marcus Jenson, Dan Gehlbach and Ethan Huisman. Larry Lyon and Jerry Ripperger are not running for reelection.

Waukee Area Chamber of Commerce Presents: School Board Election Forum Sept. 1

Get to know the candidates running for the open seats in the upcoming September 8 School Board Election. The Waukee School Board Election Forum will be held on Tuesday, September 1 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Prairieview Theatre Arts Building, 655 SE University, Waukee, IA 50263.

For more information contact Melinda Behn:
Phone: 515-978-7115

About the Candidates

Susan Bunz (incumbent)

 SusanBunz Address: 15237 Woodcrest Drive, Clive
Age: 51
Years in the District: 20
About the Candidate: My husband John and I have three children,  a son who was a 2011 Waukee High School graduate, a daughter who was a 2013 Waukee High School graduate and a daughter who will be a freshman at Timberline. I am a 1987 graduate of the University of Iowa and a 1990 graduate of Drake University Law School. I am currently employed as the Executive Director at Meals from the Heartland.  I first became involved with the district through the Waukee Community Schools Foundation.  I served three years as the Co-chair of the Foundations auction and dinner and served a number of years on the foundation board.  In 2008 I ran for the school board and have served two terms. I  served as Board President  for two of my seven years on the board.I am running for a third term for a number of reasons.  First,  I believe that our school district will be confronted with some significant issues over the next four years.  The funding of public schools and local control are just two of these issues.  Additionally, the growth in Waukee continues to be a significant challenge. My experience on the school board, my exposure to public school financing in the last seven years and my experience working on a board, and with an administration that needs to be prepared for unprecedented growth has well prepared me to continue my board service.  I have participated on a   board and with an administration that has consistently prioritized  the best interest of our students as  decisions for the district and strategic plans for the future have been crafted.  I believe Waukee is an outstanding school district and this focus on our students and their future is why I have the desire to continue my position on the board.

Scott Blum

 ScottBlum Address: 2075 SE Oxford Drive Waukee, IA 50263
Age: 33
Years in District: 18
About the Candidate: For the past 18 years I have been fortunate to be part of the Waukee School District. I moved to the district my sophomore year in high school, and graduated from Waukee High School in 2000.  I received my Bachelor’s Degree from Iowa State University in 2004, as I pursued my dream of becoming a high school teacher.  After graduation I was hired by Bernie Van Roekel as a high school social studies teacher at my alma mater.  I received my Master’s Degree in Educational Administration from Iowa State in 2008. For nine years, I taught AP American Government, American Government, Economics and World History at Waukee High School.  I also served as the student council sponsor for seven years, and was a member of many building and district-wide committees.  My wife Cara and I were high school sweethearts, graduating from Waukee in 2000.  Cara is a sonographer for the Lakeview OBGYN Clinic in West Des Moines.  We have three sons, Ethan 13, Taylor 5, and Carson 3.  I am beginning my third year as the Dean of Students at Dallas Center-Grimes High School.  I look forward to serving on the Waukee School Board to help lead the fastest growing school district in our state, and continue on the track of offering a world class education for each and every student.  I believe my time as a student, teacher, dean and parent will allow me to bring some new experiences to the Waukee School Board.

Marcus Jensen

MarcusJensen2 Address: 2335 SE Florence Drive, Waukee
Age: 44
Years in the District: 1
About the Candidate: Waukee is an exceptional school district led by an impressive administration and board. For the last year I’ve regularly attended the Waukee School board meetings and gotten to know the team. This coming cycle the board will face a couple major issues. Budget cuts driven by Gov. Branstad will be among them. (Please write your legislator and Governor). My first school district oversight experience came when my kids were in military schools and I had the key input to saving funding for Track & Field and Music programs. I firmly believe in take care of our teachers, and they will take care of our students. We moved to Waukee because of the school district and we got involved quickly into the community. I am a Waukee School Foundation Board member, Library Board member, 2015 graduate of the Waukee Leadership Institute, and key member of the organizing team for the new annual Celebrate Waukee festival. I went K-12 in Iowa City, U. of Iowa graduate in Finance. I am a Security Practice Lead Engineer for Pomeroy IT Solutions. My wife was a substitute teacher for Waukee, and now works for a software company. We have 3 boys in 5th/6th/10th grade. Please follow me on twitter @MarcusIowa.

Dan Gehlbach

 DanGehlbach Address: 15935 Hammontree Dr., Urbandale
Age: 38
Years in the District: 9
About the Candidate: I am an Urbandale native and moved back 9 years ago with my wife Staci.  We have two daughters, Abby who is starting 2nd grade, and Katy who will be a kindergartner a year from now. I am the Owner and Center Director at Mathnasium Learning Center. I am currently serving on the Waukee Schools Boundary Committee. As a business owner in the district I am an active member of both the Waukee and West Des Moines Chambers of Commerce and am a graduate of the West Des Moines Leadership Academy and have served on the Curriculum Committee. I have an M.B.A. from Arizona State University and a B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Kansas. I am a Certified Internal Auditor and have a background in risk management, compliance, and internal controls. Since opening my business nearly 5 years ago, I have dedicated my professional life to student achievement and get the opportunity to interact with parents, students, and teachers from our district on a daily basis. I look forward to further serving our community and raising the bar even higher for all students.

Ethan Huisman

 EthanHuisman Address: 8855 Silver Street, West Des Moines
Age: 40
Years in the District: 8
About the Candidate:My wife JoAnna and I have two daughters attending Waukee Schools – entering 7th and 9th grade.  I have been the owner and optometrist at Elite Eye Care since opening the practice in 2010. I served on the 2013 Secondary Study Committee, and have volunteered for and/or supported the Waukee School Foundation, Waukee Band Boosters, Waukee Athletic Boosters, Maple Grove PTO, as well as many other teams, events, and clubs at the elementary, middle, and high schools.  We have an exceptional school district with extraordinary teachers, principals, and administrators.  I am running for school board to be a part of the process as Waukee Schools continue to grow, yet maintains its excellence in educating and preparing our students.


560 Southeast University Avenue
Waukee, Iowa 50263
Phone 515.987.5161
Fax 515.987.2701