Two on the ballot for school board seat

HURON — Two candidates filed nominating petitions for the Huron School Board before last week’s deadline, according to Kelly Christopherson, the Business Manager for the Huron School district.

Christopherson confirmed that incumbent Shelly Siemonsma is seeking re-election to her third term on the board and will face off against Ray Cardona in the April 11 election.

In a release announcing her candidacy for re-election, Siemonsma said she wants to continue as “there is much more work to be done,” and that she enjoys helping people and being part of the Huron School District.

“I am immensely proud to be a part of all the work and projects that were completed in the past six years,” she said. “My priorities have always been to do everything we can to support our students, teachers, and staff in this great community. I have been blessed and honored to serve with experienced, effective, decisive, and smart board members who have the same goals in mind.”

She, along with her fellow board members have been recognized by the ASBSD, as well as the state of South Dakota for the “School Board of Excellence Award.” “ Board members are tasked to improve our ever-changing public education opportunities through curriculum, training, advancing CTE access, and many more items,” she said. She noted that she has been an advocate for higher teacher wages, better insurance, and insurance access to all staff. She has been supportive of early childhood development, ESL, and special education and helped approve funding for the McKinley Learning Center, the efforts of which have been nationally recognized.

Cardona specified two motives as being his push to run for the Huron School board.

The first is his passion for helping young people succeed. “We have plenty of challenges in Huron, but our youth have such incredible potential. Oftentimes, young people just need some hands-on experience to realize they have a talent for something that can become a great career,” he noted. “Focusing on what they can do, instead of what they can’t, helps young men and women find success, stability, and joy in life, and that ultimately helps build a stable and healthy community.”

He said his other motivation grew from attending school board meetings last school year. “There’s always a lot happening in the school district. Vanessa and I went to several school board meetings and when I realized all that goes on, I saw an opportunity to be involved and make a positive impact in the future of Huron.”  

Siemonsma and her partner have raised all six of their children as student-athletes in the Huron School District and she said she has been a proud “Tiger Mom” for more than 15 years.

Cardona brought his family to the Huron area in 2006, from Texas, bringing his skills as a licensed HVACR contractor to Dakota Provisions, where he managed the refrigeration department for all three plants, overseeing nearly 25 refrigeration technicians. He also owns Serene Services, a local HVAC and home repair company. He has been married to Vanessa for 23 years and they have five children, three of whom have graduated from HHS, with the other two still in the school system.