(Shenandoah) -- KMA News continues its "Meet the Candidates" series, featuring the candidates running in key races in the November general election. Today's segment features the second of two incumbents in the four-person Shenandoah School Board race, Adam Van Der Vliet.
A native of Sheldon, Van Der Vliet attended Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids. A Shenandoah resident for the past 13 years, he currently serves as Red Oak's city parks superintendent. A longtime Shenandoah Athletic Booster Club member, Van Der Vliet and wife Jenny have two young children. Speaking on KMA's "Morning Line" program Wednesday morning, Van Der Vliet says he's running for a second term because of experience gained in his first term.
"Between going to the state school board conventions--stuff like that--you learn bits and pieces about what makes a great community," said Van Der Vliet. "Public education is the foundation of our democracy. It's a promise we make to our children that great education makes dreams come true."
Van Der Vliet says the district has made strides in early Career Technical Education programming, with work-based learning opportunities through internships and apprenticeships. He believes hands-on learning is the best form of education.
"For me, myself, I'm a visual learner," he said. "I wasn't probably the best book learner or classroom student. But, for me, the opportunity that we can give these kids to get their hands dirty, and see out in the real world what building something, creating something, running a business looks like, that would be the best, I think, that we could do for our Career Technical Education."
While saying COVID-19 is still a problem in the district--and isn't going away anytime soon--Van Der Vliet says Shenandoah schools handled the pandemic as best as they could--given the unknowns. He credits the district's staff and administrators with meeting COVID-related challenges.
"My hats off for them, for sure, for handling it the best they could," said Van Der Vliet. "Our Return to Learn plan, we had a few districts call us and look at how we did things. For me, that's a little bit of a pat on the back that people look to us on how we handled it."
You can hear the entire interview with Adam Van Der Vliet here: