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'We're moving forward': Recall election at Richland 44 ousts all incumbents

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Nathan Berseth, the newly appointed Richland 44 School Board President. Special to The Forum2 / 2

COLFAX, N.D. — Richland 44 School Board President Nathan Berseth said Thursday, Aug. 2, that he was confident going into the upcoming school year with a board of all newcomers after a special recall election ousted three incumbents.

"I have confidence in the entire board that we'll all serve well together," Berseth said as election results were being tallied. "We have an experienced administration in place and a board that will be very capable. The school district is in good hands."

Last year, Richland 44 was rocked by accusations of sexual misconduct and hazing among male teenage students that required independent investigations, policy changes and criminal charges.

The recall election targeted former members Lisa Amundson, Josh Mjoness and Sarah Myers. All three incumbents lost to challengers Amy Lehmann, Scott Hendrickson and Jody Lingen.

In complete, but unofficial results, Lehmann garnered 233 votes to former five-year president Amundson's 157. Hendrickson won 205 votes to incumbent Mjoness garnering 155 votes, and Lingen got 208 votes to Myers' 122 votes.

Each new member was elected to serve out the remaining terms of the seats they were elected to fill.

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There were 400 voters casting a ballot Thursday — a similar turnout during the June election when voters elected three new members to the seven-member board. Typically the district sees 100 voters come out on election night, but that increased significantly following a challenging school year.

Berseth said the high turnout shows that Richland 44 residents are "very engaged and passionate" and the "community wants to see the best for our school district."

"I look forward to serving with the board and we're moving forward," said Berseth, who is now the longest-serving member on the board.

The district is focused on rebuilding relationships to restore safety in the school, which includes changing cellphone and hazing policies to address cyberbullying and other safety concerns.

In the recall, there were also 10 write-in candidates vying for a change to serve on the board.

Richland 44 business manager said that results will be canvassed Wednesday, Aug. 8.

(sidebar below)

Area 1

Josh Mjoness* 155

Derek Beito 36

Scott Hendrickson 205

Logan Robertsdahl** 1

Cody Reiland** 2

Jasmine Paczkowski** 1 Area 3

Lisa Amundson* 157

Amy Lehmann 233

Joe Storbakken** 1

Shawn Paczkowski** 3

Vance Wagner** 1

Cody Reiland** 2

Area 6

Sarah Myers* 122

Jody Lingen 208

Paul Lucas 55

Brady Kummer** 1

Scott Gauslow** 4

Kim Berseth** 1

* designates incumbent

** designates write-in

Kim Hyatt

Kim Hyatt is a reporter with The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead and a 2014 graduate of the University of Minnesota Duluth. She started her newspaper career at the Owatonna People’s Press covering arts and education. In 2016, she received Minnesota Newspaper Association's Dave Pyle New Journalist Award and later that year she joined The Forum newsroom.

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