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Board veteran looking to add one more to résumé

Published 8:15am Thursday, June 21, 2012

Candidate profile: Don Leather, for school board

Don Leathers is used to sitting on boards. He’s a member of the Austin Public Library board, as well as the missions board for Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, the Riverland Community College Alumni and Friends board, and a delegate for the Southeastern Retired Educators of Minnesota board.

He wants to be part of another board, as he is an Austin Public Schools board candidate.

“I think education is crucial in the forming of young people and our society,” Leathers said. “I thought that maybe I could make a difference on a governing board like the school board.”

Leathers taught high school English for 33 years, with one year in Albert Lea Public Schools and 32 years at Glenville/Emmons Public Schools. During that time, he coached and advised many activities, from football and basketball to speech, yearbook and National Honor Society.

“I was an educator, and I enjoy young people,” he said.

He’s interested in the achievement gap between white and non-white or non-privileged students. He hopes the board can focus on “servicing the wide range of individuals and getting everybody on the same playing field.”

In addition, Leathers is intrigued with the possibilities of the new fifth- and sixth-grade intermediate school.

As a former teacher, Leathers said making sure the board and staff are aligned is also an important goal.

“I want to hopefully maintain a good relationship between administration and staff,” he said.

He is one of nine candidates to face off in a Aug. 14 primary, where six candidates for school board will remain on the ballot for three open seats come November. Leathers joins Carol McAlister, Dick Lees, Kathy Glowac, Mary Jane Kestner, Bud Johnson, Bruce Quitmeyer, David Price and Matthew Tabor as candidates.

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