• AFSA K-12's 2023-2024 School Board Elections are open now! Polls close June 1, 2024. The AFSA School Board is made up of three parent voting members, three teacher voting members and three community voting members. The Executive Director and Business Manager are non-voting members of the board as well. Ballots were emailed on Friday, May 17th to all eligible voters. Requested paper ballots have been mailed as of Friday, May 17, 2024.

    Please note: AFSA High School is the official name of our entire school. The school board serves all grades K-12 starting fall 2019.


    The following are candidates for the School Board for this year's elections. Positions are for three-year terms.

    Teacher Candidate: (please vote for one)

    Melissa Farler

    AFSA High School

    I have been teaching at AFSA for 3 years. I teach biology, environmental science, field ecology, and veterinary science. I have lived in Minnesota for almost 4 years. Before moving to Minnesota, I was a tech in Tennessee for 14 years. I have taught grades 6 through 12. I hold a bachelor’s degree in biology from Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin. I also hold a master’s degree in in instruction and curriculum from the University of Memphis and an education specialist degree from Middle Tennessee State University in administration and supervision.

    I love AFSA’s goal of getting students outside in nature. I also love the hands on learning and informal learning through field trips – both key elements of our AFSA vision. I want to learn more about the ins and outs of AFSA and what I can do, as a teacher, to improve our school.



    Parent Candidate: (please vote for one of 2 candidates)

    Jenny Cook

    I am the parent of a 9th grader at AFSA. I bring over 20 years of experience in nonprofits to the board. I am a licensed Occupational Therapist with a background in social work and child welfare. On the AFSA board, I work to be a voice for all AFSA families, with a special focus for those receiving Special Education and/or English Language Learner services. I am excited to see AFSA increase its visibility and community engagement to connect more students to the unique opportunities AFSA provides. As an engaged member of the board, I join my fellow parent representatives in their efforts to strengthen communication between the school and parents and to create opportunities for parents to become active members of the AFSA community. 


    Sandy Gralish

    AFSA has meant such a great deal to my family these past few years and I would like to be part of the board. I want to help make AFSA the best it can be and keep growing. I would like to continue making it a safe and welcoming place for every student, and the staff, making each day a positive experience for everyone. I think as a parent, we have an inside perspective that will give a unique experience and views to bring to the board.



    Community Candidate: (please vote for one)

    Dave Smith

    I am seeking re-election to the AFSA School Board as a community member. I currently serve as the board vice chair. Previously, in my over 20 or so years on the board, I have served as chair.

    It has been a privilege to have been involved in the growth of the school. I joined the board shortly after the current high school opened and was involved first in the addition of the junior high program and then the expansion to the current K-12. This expansion also involved the acquiring of the current grade school building.

    I retired in May of 2022 after a little over 40 years from the Food Science and Nutrition Department at the University of Minnesota. My primary area was teaching and doing research in dairy products. As a teacher I had the privilege of teaching a number of AFSA graduates, it was great to see the quality background they had acquired at AFSA.

    On a personal note, my wife and I have 3 children. The oldest works for TRIA Orthopedics and will be supporting the United States Olympic Cycling Team at the Paris Olympics. Our other son is a research scientist at General Mills and our daughter is a nursing instructor at the College of St. Scholastica.


    Any questions? Please click here for our school board contact list.