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Kirby to run for Duluth School Board

David Kirby

A retired physician with two children attending public schools in Duluth plans to announce his candidacy Monday for the fall school board election. David Kirby announced late last week that he would make his official announcement at 10:30 Monday morning outside of Ordean East Middle School, where his two children will be in sixth- and eighth-grade classes next school year.

Kirby, 71, said he's had a strong interest in education issues and is actively involved in his children's school life. His background includes a doctorate in educational administration. He taught education for several years before turning to medicine. He has been a Duluth resident the past 17 years and retired as a family physician with St. Luke's.

Kirby said his time on the board would be focused on more and better use of the buildings the district has been busy refurbishing or creating the past decade under its long-range facilities plan. He was returning from a swim meet Sunday and said the teams from outside of Duluth were impressed with their surroundings. He wants the public to realize the value of the buildings, he said.

He also wants to see more choices for middle school students who now have to choose either music or languages at one point. He said he'd also take a closer look at mandated testing reporting and how it it is being used.

Kirby would be running for the District 2 seat, currently held by Judy Seliga-Punyko. She has not indicated whether she will seek re-election. Kirby, who is acquainted with Seliga-Punyko, said he wouldn't be running if she was expected to be on the ballot.

There are three seats on the board up for election. Terms are expiring for Seliga-Punyko, Bill Westholm (District 3) and Mike Miernicki (at-large). Miernicki said last month that he will not seek another term, citing the "negativity" on the board from members Art Johnston and Harry Welty, longtime critics of the facilities plan.

Kirby said he hasn't been to a school board meeting but has watched them online and followed the issues through the media. "I've been disgusted, much like many other people," he said of the clashes among members the past few years.

Official filings for election are being taken from July 7 to July 21 at the district business office, 215 N. First Ave. E. If needed, a primary would take place on Sept. 15. The general election will follow on Nov. 3.