Gag, Groebner, Sunderman lead in District 88 race

NEW ULM — With a little over half the precincts reporting in the District 88 election, the four candidates for the three seats on the board of education were running neck and neck as the votes trickled in Tuesday night.

But with 15 of 25 precincts reporting, challenger Amanda Groebner appeared ready to unseat one of the incumbents in the election. Steven Gag led the race with 26 percent of the vote, followed by Groebner at 25.67 percent, Melissa Sunderman at 24.89 percent, and Duane Winter, the board chairman and longest serving member on the board, in danger of losing out with 23.18 percent.

Three of the eight New Ulm precincts were yet to be reported at 11 p.m.

Winter has served 12 years on the board, and has served the last nine as board chairman.

Groebner has a background as an educator, and has been very active in District 88 committees, including the District 88 Foundation, where she is vice president.

Contacted as the results trickled in Tuesday night, Winter said he looks back happily on his 12 years on the board and nine years as chairman, if the vote totals follow the trend.

“I’m really proud of what we’ve accomplished in the past 12 years. We accomplished way more than I ever thought we would. The building of a new high school — I never dreamed we’d accomplish that,” he said.

Winter said there are lots of things to be proud of with the school.

“You can pick and choose a lot of ways to judge a school district, and I look at our graduation rate, our ACT scores being near the top of the state, the satisfaction people have with the schools and the community support, and there’s a lot to be happy about.”

Winter said working for six years with Harold Remme as superintendent, and six with Jeff Bertrang was a tremendous experience.

“I think we did a great job of picking a new superintendent (Bertrang), someone who can really lead the district. That’s all you can do as a school board member — pick the administrator, set some policy and then get out of the way.”

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