Special election will follow appointment process
The two applicants for a vacant seat on the Burnsville-Eagan-Savage District 191 School Board were interviewed by board members Tuesday.
The applicants are Brandon Neuerburg, 49, and Suad (Sue) Said, 34, both of Burnsville.
The board will vote Dec. 10 on a replacement for Jen Holweger, who resigned on Oct. 8. The first-term board member and mother of four, including two new babies, said she could no longer devote enough time to the position.
Said ran for the board in November, finishing fourth in a five-way race for three seats won by incumbent Eric Miller, Savage, and Burnsville residents Anna Werb and Toni Conner.
Conner will be the board’s first African American member. Said would be the first Somali American member.
The district must hold a special election for the vacant seat by Nov. 2, 2021. The winner will serve the rest of Holweger’s term, which ends in January 2023.
If the board’s six members deadlock on an appointment Dec. 10, the board will reopen the application process in January.
Neuerburg and Said responded to a questionnaire from the board on issues and qualifications and also sent resumes. Their responses to the questionnaires were blacked out on copies released to the newspaper. Much of the resume information was also redacted. A district spokesman said that was the advice of the district’s attorney.
Neuerburg, sales manager for Solid Refrigeration in Bloomington, has been involved in Burnsville youth sports as a coach, umpire and hockey club board member. He has volunteered with the education department of the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, which his wife directs.
“I’ve coached a lot of football, baseball,” Neuerburg said in his virtual interview with the board. “Eric (Board Member Miller) will attest I coached from the stands for hockey. I’ve always been about a kid-first thing. I’ve always advocated in the sport for the children just to make sure they’re getting their fair share. I feel that’s kind of the job of a board member — you’re a coach for the kids. You’re there to advocate for them.”
The father of two sons, one who’s been through district schools and one still in school, said he grew up in a family of educators and discusses education with his wife.
Neuerburger said he doesn’t care much for politics.
“Everybody’s got their opinion, and they’re entitled to it,” he said. “But at the end of the day, the right thing needs to be done.”
Asked about the sacrifice needed to serve on the board, Neuerburger said he’s used to sacrificing in other areas and said appointment to the board would be an honor.
Said, who goes by “Sue,” said she ran for the board and is now seeking appointment to “give back to my community that has given me so much.” The 2005 graduate of Burnsville High School, who fondly recalled attending the school’s former Senior Campus, said she married at 18, insisted on staying in Burnsville and with her husband is now raising their four daughters in the district.
“Being an introvert, that was a lot of hard work,” Said said of her fall election campaign. “But either way, I believe that all the experiences that I have gained in running for what is actually a public office gave me a lot of information and feedback from community members I probably never would have known if I wasn’t knocking on doors, if I was not meeting with people who had different ideas and opinions.”
She’s a workforce development representative for the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, has been a county social worker and was a family support specialist for the CAP Agency.
She said her background is public service, “the important things that really touch families, which is housing, food, child care, whatever the case may be in order to have a prospering family or self-sufficiency.”
Said called herself a “team player,” stressing the importance of listening “without having a response already in your mind, being able to be present in that moment.”
But she said she would speak up on issues important to her.
“I don’t believe in not being able to speak for those ideas and those goals that I have, but I know for sure that no student should ever feel like they’re left behind and no family should ever feel like a member of our School Board has forgotten to include them,” Said said.