Derek Diesen

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Derek Diesen
Derek Diesen.jpg
Former candidate for
Board Member, Wayzata School Board, At-large
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 5, 2013
Term limitsN/A
High schoolRichfield High School
OtherDunwoody Institute
ProfessionSmall business owner
Campaign website
Derek Diesen was a candidate for an at-large seat on the Wayzata school board. He did not win a seat in the general election on November 5, 2013.


Derek Diesen graduated from Richfield High School and studied at the Dunwoody Institute before beginning his career as a tool and die engineer for ten years. Diesen has owned and operated his own small construction contracting business for 9 years.[1]



See also: Wayzata Public Schools elections (2013)


Derek Diesen was defeated in a race against eight fellow candidates for three vacant at-large school board seats in the general election on November 5, 2013.


Wayzata Public Schools, At-large General Election, 4-year term, 2013
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngChris McCullough 21.9% 1,607
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngSarah Johansen 21% 1,539
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngAndrea Cuene 15.2% 1,112
     Nonpartisan Ted Victor 13.4% 981
     Nonpartisan Dan Haugen 12.2% 894
     Nonpartisan Derek Diesen 6.6% 486
     Nonpartisan David A. Lloyd 3.7% 268
     Nonpartisan Bill Pritchard 2.9% 215
     Nonpartisan Phil Napier 2.7% 200
     Nonpartisan Write-in votes 0.4% 29
Total Votes 7,331
Source: Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State, "Results for Selected Contests in School District No. 284 - Wayzata," accessed December 18, 2013


Derek Diesen reported $250.00 in contributions and $1,495.00 in expenditures to Wayzata Public Schools, which left his campaign with $1,245.00 in debt.[2]


Derek Diesen received an endorsement for his campaign from John Alexander, who serves as the head of the Groves Academy school for students with disabilities.[3]

Campaign themes

Diesen's campaign website listed the following campaign themes for 2013:[4]

  • I believe Wayzata is a great school district, with fantastic teachers.
  • I believe literacy is the single most important issue any school, including Wayzata.
  • I believe poor literacy instruction affects ALL students and teachers in the system. If a few students in every classroom are struggling with basic skills, it slows everyone down. It makes teaching and learning more difficult.
  • I believe that there is an opportunity to improve by figuring out why 12% of Wayzata students did not graduate in four years and working toward a solution.
  • I believe there are cheaper more effective alternatives than Reading Recovery to help struggling readers. For example: Systematic Phonics.
  • I believe too few students in Wayzata, with reading issues, are identified for special education. The national average is about 4%, state average is 3% (3rd lowest in the country), Wayzata is at 1.31%. Do you know anyone who just missed getting into Special Ed. for reading?
  • I believe that people do not realize how many families are self funding outside academic help for either struggling or advanced students.
  • I believe the achievement gap comes not from a lack of access to technology but from access to outside instruction.
  • I believe every decision made should be viewed through the "who, what, and how" it affects student outcomes. How does a new desk in every classroom, in every school, improve student outcomes?
  • I believe that the 21st century skills we plan to teach are currently undefined and unmeasurable.
  • I believe we have a finite number of resources available.
  • I believe there is a need for more facilities and class offerings in Industrial Arts. When I talk with students, this is often an overlooked group.
  • I believe the High School start time is too early, the bus comes at 6:25 in my neighborhood.
  • I believe in accountability and transparency.
  • I believe there is room for improvement.

Note: The above quote is from the candidate's website, which may include some typographical or spelling errors.

What was at stake?

There were three seats on the school board up for election on November 5, 2013. None of the three incumbents with expiring terms, including Board Chair Susan Jean Hayes Droegemueller, filed for re-election. Nine newcomers, Andrea Cuene, Derek Diesen, Dan Haugen, Sarah Johansen, David A. Lloyd, Chris McCullough, Phil Napier, Bill Pritchard and Ted Victor filed for the three open seats.

About the district

See also: Wayzata Public Schools, Minnesota
Wayzata Public Schools is located in Hennepin County, Minnesota
Wayzata Public Schools is located in Hennepin County, Minnesota. The county seat of Hennepin County is Minneapolis. According to the 2010 United States Census, Hennepin County is home to 1,184,576 residents.[5]


Hennepin County outperformed the rest of Minnesota in terms of its median rates of average household income and higher education achievement but underperformed in terms of its poverty rate in 2011. The median household income in Hennepin County was $62,966 compared to $58,476 for the state of Minnesota. The poverty rate in Hennepin County was 12.3% compared to 11.0% for the entire state. The United States Census Bureau also found that 44.7% of Hennepin County residents aged 25 years and older attained a Bachelor's degree compared to 31.8% in Minnesota.[5]

Racial Demographics, 2012[5]
Race Hennepin County (%) Minnesota (%)
White 76.7 86.5
Black or African American 12.3 5.5
American Indian and Alaska Native 1.2 1.3
Asian 6.7 4.4
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander 0.1 0.1
Two or More Races 3.0 2.2
Hispanic or Latino 6.9 4.9

Presidential Voting Pattern[6]
Year Democratic Vote Republican Vote
2012 423,982 240,073
2008 420,958 231,054
2004 383,841 255,133
2000 307,599 225,657

Note: The United States Census Bureau considers "Hispanic or Latino" to be a place of origin, not a race. Therefore, the Census allows citizens to report both their race and that they are from a "Hispanic or Latino" place of origin simultaneously. As a result, the percentages in each column of the racial demographics table will exceed 100 percent. Each column will add up to 100 percent after removing the "Hispanic or Latino" place of origin percentages, although rounding by the Census Bureau may make the total one or two tenths off from being exactly 100 percent.[7]

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