Three candidates enter race for Sioux Falls school board seat

SFSD: Child safety key after suspicious person arrest.
Three candidates are seeking a seat on the Sioux Falls school board.(Dakota News Now)
Published: Apr. 10, 2023 at 11:17 AM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Cynthia Mickelson will not be running for re-election, and three community members are hoping to take her seat on the Sioux Falls school board.

Mickelson, who works as an attorney and a grant writer, was elected to the board in 2017. Although her term on the board will end on June 30, Mickelson tweeted that she will still be involved with education and nonprofit work in Sioux Falls.

An election will be held on May 16th to select Mickelson’s successor, who will officially take office on July 10th.

The candidates that have filed petitions include Dawn Marie Johnson, Brian Mattson and Nicholas Zachariasen.

According to her campaign website, Johnson grew up in Waubay on the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate of the Lake Traverse reservation. She earned her Master’s in Social Work from the University of South Dakota in 2020 and has served as an afterschool director, winning the National Afterschool Association’s Next Generation of Leaders award in 2019. Johnson has served on the Bridging the Gap Community Foundation and the Sioux Falls School District Indian Education Parent Committee since 2021. She also worked at Joe Foss Alternative School as a community outreach coordinator for two years. She currently serves as the Director of Leadership and Culture for the South Dakota Afterschool Network is the mother of a student at Rosa Parks Elementary in Sioux Falls.

Mattson was raised around Minnehaha and Moody counties, graduating from Brandon-Valley High School. He joined the Marine Corps and toured around the world, including Saudi Arabia. Mattson receive a Bachelor of Science in Electronics Engineering Technology from South Dakota State University. He has lived in Sioux Falls for 15 years and is currently an elected precinct committeeman. Mattson has two children and recently became a grandfather.

In a statement given to Dakota News Now, Mattson said he eager to help students obtain the wisdom they’ll need to become future leaders.

I am looking forward to investing in the proper education of the children in the district. There is more to education than learning facts and figures. A healthy relationship with the teacher will ensure a long and successful future for the student.

Brian Mattson

Zachariasen works in IT and is the father of a junior at Jefferson High School. Zachariasen said in a phone interview that he initially decided to run for a school board seat so that students receive a fact-based education, particularly in science and history. He also said making sure schools have an effective threat response is one of his priorities.

The deadline for voter registration for the school board election is May 1st, and absentee voting ballots will be made available the same day.