Anoka-Hennepin School Board
‘We can all agree we want good schools for this area’
From the Minneapolis Labor Review, September 25, 2021
By Steve Share, Minneapolis Labor Review editor
ANDOVER — “One thing we can all agree on is we want good schools for this area,” says Dave Dirkswager. “Strong schools lead to good, healthy communities.”
AFL-CIO endorsed Dave Dirkswager is running for the open seat for Anoka-Hennepin School Board, District 4. District 4 includes northern Andover, Ham Lake, Nowthen, Oak Grove and northeastern Ramsey. He also is endorsed by Anoka Hennepin Education Minnesota.
Incumbent Anna Dirkswager — Dave Dirkswager’s wife — is not running for re-election. (She has a new job that involves travel, he reports, making it difficult for her to continue serving).
Deciding to run for the school board seat himself was an easy decision, Dirkswager says. The Dirkswagers have 1st grade and 3rd grade students in the school district. And his professional experience as a manager at a public agency gives him a good background for serving on the school board, he says. “I think I could do a good job.”
Dave Dirkswager works as regional operational manager for the Metropolitan Mosquito Control District.
He started working there as a St. John’s University student as a summer-only hire. After graduating, he went to work full-time at the agency as a field supervisor — and in that job he was a member of Laborers Local 363 for about 10 years.
In his current management job, he notes, “all my direct reports are still members of that union.”
When he was a member of the union, Dirkswager says, he really appreciated “that security knowing you have a little extra support… and the backing of a union to know you’re getting fair and proper treatment.”
Dirkswager grew up in Eden Prairie in a union household. His mother is a 25-year member of the Minnesota Nurses Association. And now his brother has been an MNA member for five years.
If elected to the school board, Dirkswager says he will have three priorities. First, provide academic support. “I want to give the teachers and staff the tools they need to meet everybody where they’re at.” Second, address the mental health needs of students during this challenging time, providing counselors and therapists. Third, secure stable funding. “We all want schools we can be proud of. Securing stable funding is part of that.”
“It’s important to support the teachers as much as we can,” he emphasizes. “They deserve all the tools we can give them to be successful.”