JP Claussen for School Board

Compassion, Commitment, Common Sense

Vision and Leadership

In the September 12th election for School Board, I believe we need to elect the people who offer the strongest vision about educating the nearly 13,000 students in our district. These are not just our children, these are our future citizens. This isn’t just about the bond, it is also about having a vision and leadership to move our district forward. In addition, now more than ever, we need a strong board that will continue to support teachers so that our students have access to the best education we can give them.

I present that I offer vision,  leadership and that I will support the board in holding our administration accountable to the students and communities they serve. I have offered some of my ideas, because I want voters to understand my thought processes. My thoughts,  ideas and educational experience are founded in research and evidence based practices. I advocate for a strengths based, person centered approach to education.


Teaching and Advocacy Experience

10 years as a special education teacher at West High School.

Currently work as an educator on the Inpatient Child and Adolescent Psychiatry unit at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.

2 years as president of the ICEA, the local teacher’s union.

8 years on the Negotiations Committee.

8 years on the Health Insurance Committee.

Currently on the Negotiations Team for SEIU local 199 at the UIHC.

Experience lobbying legislators in Des Moines with ISEA colleagues around the state.

Currently on the Rape Victims Advocacy Program (RVAP) Advisory Council.

Currently on the Johnson County Juvenile Justice and Youth Development Committee.


Not throwing the baby out with the bathwater

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Help if you can!


Please consider supporting my campaign! There is a Paypal link below to donate. I am also looking for folks to wear t-shirts, march in the Coralville 4th of July Parade, hand out at the Farmer’s Market on Saturday mornings and door knock. Please help get me elected to the School Board.…

Vocational Education, the Arts and Civic Engagement


Vocational Education

The severe lack of Vocational Education in our district is short changing our students and our communities.  We need to ensure that we are offering opportunities for all of our students, and that we are introducing our students to a broad range of possibilities.  We need to think creatively, and look at other models, to establish programs that both offer an introduction to, and also provide more advanced learning in, the Industrial Arts.



Art should be available and required far more than it currently is.  Music, visual arts, dance and theater, while supported in our community, should never be far from the curriculum of any student.  We should continue to celebrate our artistic accomplishments recognizing the important role art plays throughout our lives.   I do not believe art to be “extra curricular” I believe art is central to the human experience.  We live in an artistically vibrant community, and we should integrate art into our schools even more than we already do. We have amazing artistic resources  and we should ensure that we greatly enhance our students’ exposure to them.


Civic Engagement

As with the arts, the Iowa City area has a strong tradition of civic engagement. When we see national polls and surveys that indicate an embarrassing level of knowledge of Civics in the general population, I want to feel secure that not a single student will have a diploma from this district without a solid knowledge of civic engagement and an understanding about governing with the consent of the governed. Especially in this day and age where the Press is not only inadequate, but often deliberately destructive to democracy, it is ever more important that education pick up the role of informing the citizenry of our role in maintaining democracy.  I believe we should engage our students at all levels in the meaning and practice of democracy, and we should grant them a voice, and a seat at the table, in discussing issues important to them.

What I will bring to the Board

Many People, One World --- Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

Many People, One World — Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

A much needed teacher’s voice and experience

10 years as a special education teacher have given me valuable perspective. I keep abreast of research and trends in education and actively and continuously seek to expand my knowledge base of best practices as well as my understanding of how local, state and federal educational policy impact students in the classroom.

Advocacy for a “whole child” approach to education

The trend in education, certainly since 1983, and increasingly over the past decade and a half, are tilted heavily in favor of very narrow definitions of learning and achievement. These trends squeeze out other forms of learning and achievement that are equally important to a child’s development. In addition to narrow measures of achievement, many students struggle with obstacles to their learning. Poverty is one. Racial prejudice is another. Mental illness, adverse childhood experiences, family hardship, mobility, and increasing class sizes all create barriers to learning that must be overcome. It is certainly an important discussion about how much schools can do to change these things,  however no one would argue that these are not very real struggles for our students. These are challenges that will always require our attention and need to be met with creative, out side the box thinking.

Creative thinking, active listening and a desire to understand new information and perspectives

One size does not fit all in education. Each child, school and district are different. We need to think creatively in order to find solutions that work for our kids and schools. In addition, all “research” is not created equally, and we need to look carefully and critically, not only at solid, peer reviewed research, but also, and more importantly, at how educational policies and decisions are affecting the children we are currently serving. In addition, I show up on time, do my homework, and put my nose to the grindstone to solve problems.

A serious focus on minding taxpayer’s dollars so that money flows as efficiently as possible directly to the classroom

I support funding for education, but not without serious oversight and clear educational purpose. I will be mindful of any tendency to be frivolous or cavalier about spending tax dollars. I will be certain to insist that expenditures are justified and inline with our stated mission and goals.

Passion for social justice

Educational opportunities provide a path toward justice in an in-just and unequal society. There are positive examples each and every day in our district of amazing things happening. Lights are sparked and seeds are planted in thousands of minds every day and it only takes one seed or spark of knowledge to lead to understanding.  I have a deep appreciation for all types of diversity, and will work to ensure that all students feel welcome in our district.

A  positive approach to problem solving

We are too often clouded by the negatives. There are serious negative experiences that need to be addressed, but we should never lose focus on the learning that is happening all of the time in our district. We have a wealth of blessings here. I want to celebrate this, while always looking for a positive way forward.


Special Education Teacher 2004-2014

Assistant Theater and Speech Director West High 2004-2006

Iowa City Education Association President 2006-2008

ICEA Negotiator from 2004 to 2014

Rape Victims Advocacy Program (RVAP) Advisory Board 2010-2014

ICCSD Redistricting Committee 2009

BA in English University of Iowa

MA in Special Education University of Iowa

Co Author of Iowa State Education Association’s report on Teacher Leadership and Compensation 2013