NEW ULM - Sharon Gieseke, 54, CEO and Director of Minnesota Brain Injury Force, Inc., filed for a seat on the District 88 School Board Monday.
"Why did I file? Because I can and I will! I do not go along ... to get along. If District 88 citizens want Sharon Gieseke to be their voice at the school board meetings, then let it be. Pray God gives her wisdom to do the job," said Gieseke, in an e-mail interview.
A lifelong resident of Nicollet County and District 88, Gieseke attended District 88 schools.
"I started school as a first-grader in country school in District 1288," Gieseke said in the interview. "For the first three years I had 'the greatest school teacher' a small child could ever dream of getting blessed with. She had a way of making you feel extra special. Ruth Sands could handle grades one through six in a one-room (cold) country school house with ease.
"I know that if Jim Zetah were alive today, he would tell me to file for the school board," Gieseke adds.
Gieseke shares 35 years of marriage and three children with husband Randall. A daughter and a son graduated from New Ulm Public High School, and another daughter from Minnesota Valley Lutheran School. (The Giesekes also have two grandsons on the way.)
Gieseke started a free income tax service at the Senior Center in New Ulm; the service still is going strong but without her.
"I used to be a tax accountant, but after a brain injury I can no longer add numbers correctly," Gieseke shared in her interview. "I used to help my husband farm. I had a brain injury on Dec. 1, 1995. I was run over by a van in a cross-walk in New Ulm. I now tell brain injury survivors, 'never give up hope.'"
"I feel if area citizens know I am on their school board, they will find a way to contact me (in writing, please) and voice their concerns," Gieseke adds. "I will be their voice at the school board meetings."
Gieseke has volunteered in District 88 for 30 years.
"If you want to list everything that I have volunteered at, you would need more than five pages of The Journal," she notes.
In September, she will be back to work as a volunteer at health screenings for District 88, doing the hearing testing.
The Minnesota Brain Injury Force is a non-profit corporation that provides knowledge and support for brain injured survivors and their families in southern Minnesota. The organization will sponsor a Back to School Brain Boosting Bash Aug. 23 at Vogel Arena, with the help of funds from a grant from Allina Neighborhood Health Connection.
Gieseke is running for one of four seats on the board.
Matt Ringhofer, of New Ulm, a school counselor in Mankato, was the first candidate to file for the District 88 election last week.
Four seats will be up for election in November, and two of the incumbents, Carol Ackerson and Susan Nierengarten, have decided not to run for re-election. The other two board members, Patty Gramentz and Patricia Hoffman, have not indicated whether they plan to file.
Filing for the school board election continues through Tuesday, Aug. 14.