Sharon H. Van Leer

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Sharon H. Van Leer
Sharon Van Leer.jpg
Board Member, South Washington County School Board, At-large
Term ends
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 5, 2013
First electedNovember 5, 2013
Next generalNovember, 2017
Term limitsN/A
Associate'sCentury College
Bachelor'sMetropolitan State University
OtherBethel University
ProfessionMulticultural specialist
Campaign website
Sharon Van Leer is an at-large member of the South Washington County school board. She won the general election on November 5, 2013.


Sharon Van Leer received her A.A. in Business Administration from Century College in 1996 and her B.A. in Business from Metropolitan State University in 2001.[1] Van Leer has studied both for an M.P.A. and for a Master's degree in Organizational Leadership from Bethel University.[1][2] She began her career as a claims processor for the Higher Education Assistance Foundation, and in 1991, she left that position to join the William Mitchell College of Law for her current position as a multicultural specialist.[2]



See also: South Washington County Schools elections (2013)


Sharon Van Leer, Katy McElwee-Stevens, Katie Schwartz and Tracy Brunnette defeated ten other candidates to win four at-large seats with four-year terms in the general election on November 5, 2013.


South Washington County Schools, At-large General Election, 4-year term, 2013
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngKatie Schwartz 11.5% 3,239
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngTracy Brunnette Incumbent 10.6% 2,990
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngKaty McElwee-Stevens Incumbent 9.4% 2,648
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngSharon H. Van Leer 8.7% 2,464
     Nonpartisan Molly Lutz 8.7% 2,458
     Nonpartisan David G. Kemper Incumbent 8% 2,267
     Nonpartisan Mike Thissen 6.7% 1,900
     Nonpartisan Michael P. Edman 6.7% 1,880
     Nonpartisan Raj Gandhi 6.4% 1,803
     Nonpartisan Frederick E. Hess 5.9% 1,679
     Nonpartisan Leilani Holmstadt 5.5% 1,567
     Nonpartisan Wayne A. Johnson 5.5% 1,541
     Nonpartisan John P. Griffin, II 4.7% 1,323
     Nonpartisan Safiyyah Cummings 1.2% 339
     Nonpartisan Write-in votes 0.6% 163
Total Votes 28,261
Source: Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State, "Results for Selected Contests in School District No. 833 - South Washington County," accessed December 18, 2013 and Scott Wente, South Washington County Bulletin, "Recount confirms Van Leer District 833 School Board victory," November 22, 2013


Sharon Van Leer reported $1,832.62 in contributions and $1,826.66 in expenditures to South Washington County Schools, which left her campaign with $5.96 on hand.[3]


Sharon Van Leer received an endorsement for her campaign from former district superintendent Tom Nelson.[4]

Campaign themes

In a survey with United for MN School District 833, Van Leer provided the following campaign themes:[5]

  • Support access for all opportunities that will prepare our children for academic success;
  • Support and continue to build and strengthen relationships between parents, students, teachers and the community;
  • Support and work to ensure that we maintain a strong financial standing and that sound, ethical and fiscal decisions are made; and
  • Support and improve school safety for our children.

[...]I would like to see District 833 continue to invest in technology for our children and to support academic excellence. Every child should have access to opportunities to prepare for a successful future in a global society. In addition, the District needs to continue on the path to ensure that our children are safe inside and outside of the schools.


  • Support communication – continue to build and strengthen relationships between parents, students, teachers and the community — that they are empowered, welcomed, valued and respected, and to improve the dialogue between the district and the community to collaborate in a more meaningful and purposeful manner.
  • Maintain our strong financial standing – working to ensure that our tax dollars benefit education for our children, and that we make sound, ethical and fiscal decisions.

What was at stake?

There were five seats on the school board up for election on November 5, 2013. Four of the seats were for normal four year terms, but the fifth seat was to fill a vacancy on the board and carried only a two year term. Board Vice-Chair Tracy Brunnette and fellow incumbents David G. Kemper and Katy McElwee-Stevens sought re-election to four year terms, while incumbent Laurie Johnson filed for the two year term. The incumbents faced a total of thirteen challengers, eleven of whom competed for the four year terms and two of whom challenged Johnson for the two year term.

About the district

See also: South Washington County Schools, Minnesota
South Washington County Schools is located in Washington County, Minnesota
South Washington County Schools is located in Washington County, Minnesota. The county seat of Washington County is Stillwater. According to the 2010 United States Census, Washington County is home to 244,088 residents.[6]


Washington County outperformed the rest of Minnesota in terms of its median rates of average household income, poverty rate and higher education achievement in 2011. The median household income in Washington County was $79,571 compared to $58,476 for the state of Minnesota. The poverty rate in Washington County was 5.7% compared to 11.0% for the entire state. The United States Census Bureau also found that 40.0% of Washington County residents aged 25 years and older attained a Bachelor's degree compared to 31.8% in Minnesota.[6]

Racial Demographics, 2012[6]
Race Washington County (%) Minnesota (%)
White 88.2 85.3
Black or African American 4.0 5.2
American Indian and Alaska Native 0.5 1.1
Asian 5.3 4.0
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander Z 0.0
Two or More Races 2.0 2.4
Hispanic or Latino 3.6 4.7

Presidential Voting Pattern[7]
Year Democratic Vote Republican Vote
2012 70,203 69,137
2008 70,277 64,334
2004 61,395 65,751
2000 49,637 51,502

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.[8]

Recent news

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