Community Alert

The Northfield School Board will once again be full of (mostly) familiar faces.

Northfield voters re-elected incumbents Julie Pritchard and Jeff Quinnell to the board, along with newcomer Tom Baraniak. All three ran unopposed.

Julie Pritchard


Pritchard, the current board chair, has held the position since 2015. She’s been a board member since 2009, and was previously president of Sibley’s parent-teacher organization and a member of the district’s Finance Advisory Board.

Those eight years of school board experience will be an asset, said Pritchard.

“Decisions are never easy; the issues are very complex,” she said. “I always feel very honored, in a community that values education so highly, to be representing our community and keeping our school strong, and continuing our tradition of educational excellence.”

Jeff Quinnell


Quinnell is set to begin his ninth year serving on the School Board. A Northfield graduate himself, he now works in the insurance/financial services industry. School safety is Quinnell’s biggest priority as a board member, along with attracting high-quality teachers and staff to the district.

“It’s nice to be a Northfield Raider and be on the board and give back,” said Quinnell. “We’re a very high-rated school district, and Northfield really values education, and it’s a great thing.”

Tom Baraniak


Newcomer Tom Baraniak joins the board after being defeated in the 2016 election, replacing Margaret Colangelo, who opted not to run for re-election. Baraniak works as the lab manager for Carleton College’s physics and astronomy departments. He’s the current president of the Northfield Daycare Board and co-chair of the Carleton College Forum Steering Committee.

Baraniak cited space issues, school security and program funding as top priorities in his work as a school board member.

“I look forward to working with the board members, the administration, the teachers and staff to maintain and improve the excellent Northfield school district,” he said.

Baraniak supported the district’s bond referendum proposal, as did Quinnell and Pritchard.

“Get the children off to a strong start in school, and it will pay a lifetime of dividends,” Baraniak told the Northfield News prior to the election. “These elementary school projects will impact nearly every student who proceeds through the Northfield schools for decades to come, long after I’ve returned whence I came.”

The newly elected (or re-elected) board members will join Noel Stratmoen, Rob Hardy, Amy Goerwitz and Ellen Iverson, who were not up for re-election. The board chair and other officers will be decided in January.

Reach Reporter Anne Kopas at 507-645-1117. Follow her on Twitter @NFNanne.

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