Howard, manager of ORMICS, Ottumwa's ambulance service, said he wants to be part of the school district's decision-making process. He has two children in the district and his wife is a teacher.
"But I'm not really one that likes to make waves and have a bunch of objections to stuff, I just would like to be a voice in the decisions that are made and help guide those decisions," he said. "I'm the kind of person who listens to the other side of the equation to see it from another perspective and offer that viewpoint."
He is also one of two youth ministers at Christ's Church.
"I think with my dedication to the church and to youth group ... that will help me make those decisions that are best for everybody involved and have that kind of calm approach," he said.
Local control is important, he said, and education starts at home.
"We have to help our teachers and the district with things that need fixed, and that starts with us [parents] at home," he said.
Weilbrenner, agency owner of Allstate Insurance, said in order for Ottumwa to flourish overall, education needs to be the priority. He also has children in the district and his wife is a teacher.
"I don't think you can ever point to any one thing. I think there are many things that could be done differently, but that's also an outsider looking in," he said. "I don't have one agenda I'm getting on for. I want to see how the whole process works, because I'm sure there's more to it than meets the eye."
He also said the biggest issue this school year will be Liberty Elementary, "getting through the hurdles of having it be new and different."