Toussaint Cheatom

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Toussaint Cheatom
Toussaint Cheatom.jpg
Board Member, Des Moines School Board, District 2
Elections and appointments
Last electionSeptember 10, 2013
First electedSeptember 10, 2013
Next generalSeptember, 2017
Term limitsN/A
High schoolNorth High School
Bachelor'sWilberforce University
Military service
Service/branchUnited States Marine Corps
Years of service1986-1990
Campaign website
Toussaint Cheatom campaign logo
Ballotpedia's school board candidate survey
Toussaint Cheatom is the District 2 member of the Des Moines Board of Directors. He won his election to the board on September 10, 2013.


Toussaint Cheatom resides in Des Moines, Iowa with his wife and children.[1] Cheatom attended North High School, which is a part of Des Moines Public Schools.[2] He served for four years in the United States Marine Corps before being convicted of robbery in 1990.[2][3] After completing his sentence in 1994, Cheatom attended Wilberforce University in Ohio but left to serve as the pastor for St. James AME Church before receiving his degree.[4] He is currently studying for a Master of Divinity degree from United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities.[4]



See also: Des Moines Public Schools elections (2013)


Toussaint Cheatom defeated Ed Linebach, III for the District 2 seat in the general election on September 10, 2013.[3]


Des Moines Public Schools, District 2 General Election, 4-year term, 2013
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngToussaint Cheatom 52.9% 607
     Nonpartisan Ed Linebach, III 46.5% 534
     Nonpartisan Write-in votes 0.6% 7
Total Votes 1,148
Source: Polk County Auditor, "School Board Election," accessed September 14, 2013


As of September 9, 2013, Toussaint Cheatom reported $1,697.00 in donations and $1,344.38 in expenditures to the Iowa Secretary of State, which left him with $352.62 on-hand.[5]


Toussaint Cheatom received endorsement for his campaign from the Des Moines Education Association and the local chapter of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.[6][7]

Campaign themes

Cheatom believed that, "The greatest concern is the under achievement of students and the over representation of minorities being sent for disciplinary actions."[8] He argued in favor of maintaining smaller class sizes, stating, "Smaller class sizes, especially for minorities, are important. ...If you cannot read by the fourth grade, it’s a proven fact that they build a jail cell for you."[9] Cheatom's campaign website listed the following campaign themes for 2013:[10]

My reason for seeking a seat in this election is TLC-- For us, Teaching, Learning & Change are the key elements in this race

  • I believe in supporting ALL of the caring and concerned teachers in the Des Moines Independent School District,
  • I believe in promoting learning for ALL students; each one is unique and is deserving of an individualized learning plan, safety and respect.
  • I believe that quality education is the precondition to change in our neighborhoods, as well as the greater Des Moines Community. My goal is to work harmoniously between the board and various stakeholders to arrive at decisions that are in the best interest of students, parents and teachers. We need changes that encourage Board Member agreement for improved management and District Oversight.

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

What was at stake?

There were four seats on the school board up for election on September 10, 2013. Incumbents Connie Boesen, Teree Caldwell-Johnson and Joe Jongewaard sought re-election to the board while fellow incumbent and current Chair Dick Murphy did not file for re-election, thereby ensuring that the election would result in a change of board leadership. Boesen and Jongewaard faced three challengers for two at-large seats. Rob X. Barron, Heather Ryan and Shane Schulte filed for the at-large race, while Ed Linebach and Toussaint Cheatom filed for the new District 2 seat. Caldwell-Johnson, Darlene Blake and Joel Doyle filed for the new District 4 seat.[11]

About the district

See also: Des Moines Public Schools, Iowa
Des Moines Public Schools is located in Polk County, Iowa
Des Moines Public Schools is located in Polk County, Iowa. The county seat of Polk County is Des Moines. According to the 2010 US Census, Polk County is home to 430,640 residents.[12]


Polk County outperformed the rest of Iowa in terms of its median rates of average household income, poverty and higher education achievement in 2011. The median household income in Polk County was $57,473 compared to $50,451 for the state of Iowa. The poverty rate in Polk County was 10.6% compared to 11.9% for the entire state. The US Census also found that 33.8% of Polk County residents aged 25 years and older attained a Bachelor's degree compared to 24.9% in Iowa.[13]

Racial Demographics, 2012[13]
Race Polk County (%) Iowa (%)
White 80.1 88.0
Black or African American 6.4 3.2
American Indian and Alaska Native 0.5 0.5
Asian 3.8 2.0
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander 0.1 0.1
Two or More Races 2.1 1.6
Hispanic or Latino 7.9 5.3

Party Affiliation, 2013[14]
Party Registered Voters  % of Total
Democratic 107,630 38.7
Republican 83,853 30.2
Unaffiliated 85,819 30.9
Other 638 0.2

Note: Each column will add up to 100 percent after removing the "Hispanic or Latino" percentage, although rounding by the Census Bureau may make the total one- or two-tenths off. Read more about race and ethnicity in the Census here.[15]

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