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School Board Members
School Board Member Bios
Sheri Benson, Board Member
Contact Information:
Phone: 641-417-0226
1209 W 16th ST S #205
Newton, Iowa 50208
Term Expires: 2017
Sherri Benson - Board Member
Sheri Benson is a strong advocate for life-long learning and believes learning is the key to a free and prosperous society.
 
Sheri has been a member of the Newton community since 1998.  In addition to serving on the NCSD Board, Sheri has served on the United Way Board, SCORE, the Newton Transformation Council, Pastoral Council of Sacred Heart Parish, OPEN Sister City and Jasper County Wellness Coalition.  Broader volunteer activities include the Pastoral Council and the Board of Education for the Diocese of Davenport.
 
Sheri holds a Master’s degree from the University of Oklahoma in Organizational Leadership and a Bachelor of Liberal Studies from the same institution.
 
Sheri’s two children (Jordan and Trey) are former NCSD students. 

Josh Cantu, Board Member
Contact Information:
Phone: 641-840-1091
1103 North 4th Ave West 
Newton, Iowa 50208
Term Expires: 2019
 
Mr. Cantu has lived in Newton since 2002 when he joined Pella Corporation in an engineering role.  Since that time he has held many roles within Pella Corporation including, most recently, engineering team leader.  He holds an undergraduate degree from Iowa State University in Mechanical Engineering and a graduate degree from the University of Iowa in Business Administration.
 
He is an active member of the Newton Planning and Zoning Commission and of his church, First Luthern Church of Newton.  In his spare time he enjoys spending time with family and friends, golfing, and working his latest remodeling or landscaping project.
 
His wife is Katie Cantu and they have two children, Emily 3 and Garrett 8 months.  Both eagerly waiting to join the ranks of the Cardinal alum.

Donna Cook, Board Member
Contact Information:
Phone: 641-791-2665
518 North 2nd Avenue East
Newton, Iowa 50208
Term Expires: 2019
 Donna Cook - Board Member
Ms. Cook is a Registered Nurse and the Director of Nursing Services at the Newton Correctional Facility.  
 
She grew up in Newton and is a graduate of the Newton Community School District.  She holds a Bachelors of Science degree in Nursing from the University of Iowa.  
 
Ms. Cook has been an active volunteer in the community.  She is passionate about family and community involvement in public education and has served on the local, state, and national Parent Teacher Association.  She is a member of the First Christian Church.
 
Donna and her husband, Ernie, are most proud of their three children (Newton Alumni): Christopher, Katie, and Kevin.  The Cooks also enjoy their three wonderful grandsons who attend Newton schools.

 
Andy Elbert, Board Member
Contact Information:
Phone: 641-521-1641
710 W. 9th St. S
Newton, Iowa 50208
Term Expires: 2017
 Andy Elbert - Board President
Mr. Elbert is a Sales Representative for Goalsetter Basketball in Sully, Iowa.  He and his wife Jen, a second grade teacher at Berg Elementary School, have two boys - Spencer and Austin.  Spencer attends Newton High School, and Austin attends Berg Middle School.
 
Andy enjoys spending time with his family and friends, golfing, and supporting his favorite sports teams including the Iowa State Cyclones and the Newton Cardinals.
 
He feels that the Newton Community School District has made great strides toward improved student education and performance and he is looking forward to that continued success.  Andy has been a member of the Newton Board of Education since 2009.  

He and his family attend Community Heights Alliance Church. 

 
Robyn Friedman, Board Vice-President
Contact Information:
Phone: 641-787-0911
1500 South 12th Avenue West
Newton, Iowa 50208
Term Expires: 2017
 Robyn Friedman - Board Member
Robyn Friedman is a physical therapist at Skiff Medical Center and has lived in Newton since 2000. She is a past president of both Woodrow Wilson and Thomas Jefferson PTAs and is still highly active in the PTA.
 
She is also on the YMCA board and the Jasper County Conservation Board and is part of the Newton Wellness Coalition. She has been a volunteer coach with the Newton HS Girls cross country team in the past and remains an avid runner herself, specializing in the marathon distance.
 
Her husband is Bryan Friedman and they have 3 active children: Isaac is at Berg Middle School, Leo is at Thomas Jefferson and Talia is a 3 year old.

 
Ann Leonard, Board Member
Contact Information:
Phone: 641-521-2463
901 Hwy S-52 North 
Newton, Iowa 50208
Term Expires: 2019
 
Ann graduated from Iowa State University with a degree in Agricultural Communications and is a Communications Consultant at DuPont Pioneer in Johnston, Iowa.  Her role includes issues management and providing global communications support to leaders across the organisation.  She has lived in Newton since 2000, is an active member of the Thomas Jefferson PTA (currently serving as Treasurer), and is a member of St. Luke United Methodist Church.
 
In addition to her role at Pioneer, she supports various STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) and diversity initiatives at work, which includes conducting classes on strawberry DNA extraction for young girls, sponsoring youth visits to Pioneer, and leading the DuPont Pioneer Women's Network.  She also serves as the lead for all Pioneer activities with the National FFA.  She enjoys spending time with her family, reading, sewing, and oil painting.
 
She and her husband, Eric, have two children:  Ben is at Thomas Jefferson and Caleb is four years old.   

 
Travis Padget, Board President
 
Contact Information:
Phone: 319-621-4679
511 North 9th Avenue East
Newton, Iowa 50208
Term Expires: 2017
 Travis Padget - Board Member
Travis Padget was born and raised in Newton. After graduating from NHS in 1991, Travis went to Germany as a Foreign Exchange Student, then returned to Iowa to attend Cornell College in Mt. Vernon.
 
While at Cornell College, Travis studied Art, Psychology, and Theatre. Travis moved to Boston in 1996 to work on a Master Degree in Mental Health Counseling at Boston College. His work during and after his MA, focused on chronic mental health and substance abuse recovery and community integration.
 
Travis returned to Newton in 2001 while he prepared for his studies at the University of Iowa Law School. After completing his Law Degree in 2006, Travis returned to Newton as a full-time resident to continue his work in mental health.  Travis also served as Executive Director of the United Way of Jasper County, bringing his experience and education back to his home town.
 
Most recently, Travis has joined Edward Jones as a Financial Advisor. 

 
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District Office | 1302 First Avenue West | Newton, Iowa 50208 | Phone: 641.792.5809 | Fax: 641.792.9159