SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — There is one open spot on Sioux Falls School Board and two candidates want your vote.

Those candidates are Dawn Marie Johnson and Brian Mattson.

Yard signs are out and campaigning is well underway. The Sioux Falls School Board election is less than 2 weeks away.

Dawn Marie Johnson, who is originally from Waubay, is the director of leadership and culture at the South Dakota After School Network and formerly worked for the Sioux Falls School District as a CTE and community outreach coordinator.

“My lived experience and knowledge and background working within schools, it really pushed me to know that I was capable of doing something like this,” Johnson said.

During our conversation, Johnson talked about the challenges surrounding social studies standards and getting them implemented.

“That’s been probably everybody’s top of mind question whenever I go to different places. So working towards understanding it and working towards assisting the educators in this process is going to be a huge need,” Johnson said.

Johnson says she’d also like to focus on the “community learning centers” programming and how it’s implemented within the district, but also programming for students overall.

“How can we look at those program areas, grow them, educate people on them to ensure that we’re giving our children and families the best possible quality education moving forward,” Johnson said.

Brian Mattson, who grew up in the Moody and Minnehaha County areas, is an investor and former Marine. He hopes to quote “foster and encourage the parents to help out with their children’s education.”

“To become better students in the system so that way we can get better grades out of them, and hopefully move onto entrepreneurship or other areas that can benefit society,” Mattson said.

Mattson brought up a recent hot button issue – gymnastics.

“I would like to see that reinstated, and we’ll see if we can do that with some fiscal responsibility, move some things around. Hopefully we can get that back in,” Mattson said.

Mattson says he also wants to focus on school lunches, teacher pay and what he refers to as “transparency issues.”

“I’d like to dig into that and see if we can’t get the parents to see what’s going on and help them understand what’s going on in school board. Why the decision are made, how they’re made, etc.” Mattson said.

There is third candidate on the ballot, but that’s only because he missed the deadline to get his name removed.

To vote in the Sioux Falls School Board, you must be a registered voter living in the Sioux Falls School District boundaries. Absentee voting is open from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. at the Instructional Planning Center on 38th Street. The election is May 16.

Listen to both candidates below:

Dawn Marie Johnson

Brian Mattson