Donna Kreamer took some time after she retired from teaching in 2011.
“I wanted some distance from school because I really wanted to reflect on what is it that I really was interested in?” Kreamer said. “Where do I really think I can make a difference?”
So she travelled and she volunteered, but people kept asking, and she decided this year to throw her hat in the ring for the Indianola school board.
Kreamer said she decided to run after the conflicts between teachers and the school district administration over teacher contracts during the winter.
“I was disheartened by the schism that I saw was happening between the board and the teachers,” she said. “I really wanted to try to put a more positive spin on what could happen between the board, the staff and the superintendent and try to help build a good working relationship between those three entities.”
She said her interest in the school board goes beyond advocating for teachers.
“I feel like I have a lot of ideas for things we can do to improve the schools, and to make schools a welcoming place for kids, staff and administration,” she said. “I understand school budgeting and there’s a finite amount of money that has to be spread around to the best of our ability.”
Kreamer ‘s father, Max Morrison, served on the Indianola School Board after working as a school administrator in Parkersburg, Iowa, and moving to Indianola and going to work for the Iowa Department of Education. Kreamer herself graduated from Indianola High School and then taught at Interstate 35 School District for 20 years and the Indianola School District for 10 before retiring.
Kreamer's husband, Bob Kreamer served on the Indianola City Council before he died in 2010.
Three of Kraemer’s own children attended the Indianola schools and now she is watching her 13 grandchildren go through school, with some at Indianola and others attending Iowa City or Des Moines schools.
“I feel like I know the community really well, I know the schools and what’s happening,” she said.
Kreamer said she is concerned about class sizes as well as improving communication between the board and the staff. “I don’t know if everyone really understands both sides of the coin here,” she said.
Kreamer said she also would like to see Indianola reach out to other school districts that are implementing innovative ideas. But mostly, she said, she wants to do what she did when she taught talented and gifted students.
“I had to teach kids to think in all different kinds of ways,” she said. “I spent a lot of my life trying to get kids to build consensus on a lot of the things that they were doing.”
Indianola voters will choose four candidates from seven to serve on the Indianola School Board at the Nov. 5 election.