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District 1
Donald Duff
Age: 78
Occupation: Retired insurance executive
Education: Bachelor’s in business administration from Olivet Nazarene University
Political experience: Served 10 years as member of NACS board
Kent Somers
Age: 49
Occupation: Actuary, formerly with Lincoln Life, now does independent consulting
Education: Associate degree in computer science and bachelor’s in mathematics from Purdue University
Political experience: None

10-year incumbent jousts with newcomer in NACS


Two seats are up for grabs this election in Northwest Allen County Schools with just one contested race.

District 1 incumbent Donald Duff, a retired insurance executive, will face Kent Somers. Duff has served on the NACS board for 10 years, after being appointed to replace his wife, Donna, a retired Carroll High School teacher and board member, who died in 2002.

Paul Sloffer is running unopposed for a sixth term in District 2.

In District 1, Somers, an actuary, said he stands out because he has two young children attending NACS.

“As a parent, I look at things differently,” he said. “I’m dedicated to the long-term success of the district.”

Somers said it would be a great privilege to serve all district stakeholders in establishing high standards and expectations for all students.

Duff said the current board works well together.

“I’d really hate to see that change. Sometimes we disagree individually, but when we leave that boardroom, it’s our decision,” he said.

During Duff’s years on the board, he’s seen instances where being a parent of students in the district can be a disadvantage when board members try to become too involved in micromanaging the administration or when the board becomes a last resort for personnel or student discipline problems, he said.

Both Duff and Somers agree that funding is the biggest issue facing the district, but Somers said the district hasn’t done enough to educate taxpayers about its budget woes. Both candidates pointed to new housing additions in the district indicating that it could face increasing enrollment and be forced to build more schools.

Duff said it’s important to him that the district continues to be one of the highest performing in the state by keeping class sizes low, despite growth and funding challenges.

“I want to see us become one of the best districts in the Midwest, and I will do everything in my power to see that that happens,” he said.