Dr. Marcus J. Carlson, 42, said he entered the Garrett-Keyser-Butler school board race after many individuals in the community encouraged him to run.

“I am willing to serve our school, students, staff and community in any way that I can, because I greatly value our local school system,” Carlson said.

He sees the COVID-19 pandemic as the biggest challenge to Garrett schools, as they navigate serving students and families while maintaining safety and educational excellence.

“The pandemic and the current economic climate will likely bring additional financial challenges. The economic climate also creates a continued need to prepare students for a variety of post-high-school paths,” he added.

Carlson holds a doctorate  in adolescent development, a Master of theology and a bachelor’s degree in youth ministry with minors in psychology and leadership.

He currently serves as executive director of Preparing for Amazement Ministries, a nonprofit in Garrett, and is a professor for Sioux Falls Seminary and Toccoa Falls College. Carlson owns a small business and is a leadership and church consultant, pastor, seminar speaker and author.

He previously served as adjunct faculty at Southwestern College and held senior, associate and youth pastor roles.

Carlson is an active volunteer and community leader as: a board member of the United Way of DeKalb County, leader of a community mental health task force; Sources of Strength Suicide Prevention program adult advisor for Garrett High School; helping with crisis response and counseling at G-K-B Schools; a QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) suicide prevention trainer; guest lecturer Purdue Fort Wayne education classes and Junior Achievement at   Garrett Middle School.

He has held other volunteer roles in the past including Learning Link of DeKalb County, Reading Railroader at J.E. Ober Elementary, classroom volunteer as various schools, JAM Center board of directors; and member of the mental health advisory team at G-K-B schools.

Carlson said his diverse experience, education and background make him the best candidate for the position.

“As a parent with students in the district, I am uniquely poised to have a broad perspective to inform a school board’s decision-making,” he said. “Additionally, I have a background in education and, before coming to Garrett, led a district accountability committee for a school district with over 60,000 students. I am passionate, committed and involved in our community. Our school district is one of the greatest aspects of our community, and I am very supportive of our schools.”

Carlson and his wife, Jessica, are the parents of Micah, 15, a sophomore at Garrett High School, and daughter Abigail, 13, an eighth-grade student at Garrett Middle School.

Carlson's hobbies include kayaking, reading, training his border collies, spending time with family and traveling.

If elected, Carlson wants to enhance the school district’s visibility and communication within Garrett and DeKalb County. He would continue to grow outside funding sources such as grants for enhancing academic, vocational and extracurricular offerings and support all staff in order to continue to attract and retain the best possible team for Garrett students.

“I would be honored to serve our school and community and will do all I can to help our school continue and enhance its standard of excellence,” he said.

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