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I have spent my career working with children from all different backgrounds and abilities. I teach elementary special education at Mary Jackson Elementary School in Des Moines. Prior to teaching, I served in the children’s mental health field; supervising therapeutic classrooms and suspension/expulsion programs contracted with West Des Moines, SE Polk, Newton, and Ankeny school districts. I serve on the Urbandale School Board, and as Vice President on the board of directors for Iowa Safe Schools, Iowa’s largest provider of services and advocacy for LGBTQ+ youth. I founded Drive for Lives: Educators and Allies. I’m a proud member of ISEA. Above all I am an advocate for public education and these experiences have led me to the following conclusions:


  • School environments should reflect the diversity in our students and families.

  • We must ensure instructional and support practices address the needs of all learners. We can lift all students without tearing anyone down.

  • Data should guide schools. Data must be transparent, relevant, and actionable to improve overall student outcomes.

  • The structure and administration of schools must be efficient, effective, and accountable if it is to best support students and staff.

  • We need to effectively recruit and retain staff. Our ability to teach all kids is dependent on having well qualified adults in our schools.

  • Public tax dollars must only fund public schools. Public education is the foundation of our democracy.

  • Our communities and businesses have an interest in supporting our schools and school staff.

  • School boards are stewards of public education and should be vocal advocates for our kids and staff at all levels of government.

Daniel Gutmann              

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