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School Board Members

School Board Members

 Robyn Friedman

Robyn Friedman
Board President

Term Duration: November 2025

  robynpt5@gmail.com

  641-840-2215

  1500 South 12th Avenue West
Newton, Iowa 50208



Robyn has lived in Newton since 2000 and is employed as the manager of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at MercyOne Newton. She holds a bachelor of arts degree in Biology from Wartburg College and a Master's Degree of Physical Therapy from the University of Iowa.  


Robyn is also a current board member on the Jasper County Conservation Board and has been the coordinator and coach of the local Girls on the Run program and the Newton Summer Kids Running Club.  She attends and is involved at First Lutheran Church in Newton.  In her free time she enjoys running, traveling and reading.  


Robyn is married to husband Bryan Friedman and they are parents of 3 children.  Isaac (Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology), Leo (Newton High School), and Talia (Berg Middle School).

Josh Cantu

Josh Cantu
Board Vice-President

Term Duration: November 2023

  josh.cantu.ncsd.schoolboard@gmail.com

  641-840-1091

  1103 North 4th Ave West
Newton, Iowa 50208



Mr. Cantu has lived in Newton since 2002 when he joined Pella Corporation in an engineering role.  Since that time he has held many roles within Pella Corporation including, most recently, engineering team leader.  He holds an undergraduate degree from Iowa State University in Mechanical Engineering and a graduate degree from the University of Iowa in Business Administration.


He is an active member of the Newton Planning and Zoning Commission and of his church, First Luthern Church of Newton.  In his spare time he enjoys spending time with family and friends, golfing, and working his latest remodeling or landscaping project.


His wife is Katie Cantu and they have two children, Emily (8) and Garrett (5).

Donna Cook

Donna Cook
Board Member

Term Duration: November 2023

  dcook2014@gmail.com

  641-521-4123

  518 North 2nd Avenue East
Newton, Iowa 50208



Ms. Cook grew up in Newton and is a graduate of the Newton Community School District.  She holds a Bachelors of Science degree in Nursing from the University of Iowa, and is retired.  
 
Ms. Cook has been an active volunteer in the community.  She is passionate about family and community involvement in public education and has served on the local, state, and national Parent Teacher Association.  She is a member of the First Christian Church.
 
Donna is most proud of her three children (Newton Alumni): Christopher, Katie, and Kevin.  She also enjoys five wonderful grandchildren, with three grandsons attending Newton schools.

Liz Hammerly

Liz Hammerly
Board Member

Term Duration: November 2025

  lizhammerly31@gmail.com

  515-494-5135

  3569 East 8th Street North
Newton, Iowa 50208



Liz Hammerly has lived in Newton on and off since 2008;  she has been visiting Newton and spending time here since 2001.  She has her BA in Elementary Education with an emphasis on K-8 Reading, her MA in Special Education, a PK-12 Leadership endorsement, and her Special Education Consultant endorsement.  She has held various roles in education over the last 17 years.


Liz and her husband, Ike, have four kids who attend school in Newton.  They enjoy supporting wrestling, baseball, soccer, softball, football, and band activities.  The Hammerly family attends Sacred Heart Church in Newton.  


In her free time, Liz enjoys fishing with her family and hobby farming.

Travis Padget

Travis Padget
Board Member

Term Duration: November 2025

  travispadget@gmail.com

  319-621-4679

  4965 Hwy 14E
Newton, Iowa 50208



Travis Padget was born and raised in Newton.  After graduating from Newton High School in 1991, Travis went to Germany as a Foreign Exchange Student, then returned to Iowa to attend Cornell College in Mt. Vernon.


While at Cornell College, Travis studied Art, Psychology, and Theatre.  Travis moved to Boston in 1996 to work on a Masters Degree in Mental Health Counseling at Boston College.  His work during and after his MA, focused on chronic mental health and substance abuse recovery and community integration.


Travis returned to Newton in 2001 while he prepared for his studies at the University of Iowa Law School.  After completing his Law Degree in 2006, Travis returned to Newton as a full-time resident to continue his work in mental health.  Travis also served as Executive Director of the United Way of Jasper County, bringing his experience and education back to his home town.

 
Most recently, Travis has joined Edward Jones as a Financial Advisor. 

Mark Thayer

Mark Thayer
Board Member

Term Duration: November 2023

  mwthayer2@gmail.com

  641-831-3431

  1110 East 17th Street South
Newton, Iowa 50208



Mark has been living in Newton and serving as the administrator of the Newton Clinic since 1996.  Mark is a graduate of Grand View University in 1994 (BA) and 2014 (MS).  Mark is married to Michelle and they have two children, Maddison (Iowa State University) and Mitchell (Newton High School).  Mark and his family are members of Sacred Heart Catholic Church.

Ray Whipple

Ray Whipple
Board Member

Term Duration: November 2025

  whipple.rf@gmail.com

  641-417-0385

  1209 West 6th Street South
Newton, Iowa 50208



Mr. Whipple is a retired teacher/administrator of the Newton Community Schools.  He has been an educator for 25 years and has held the positions of Teacher, Vice-Principal, Special Education Department Head, Building Instructional Leader, Assistant to the Athletic Director, and Coach.  Mr. Whipple earned his Bachelor of Arts Degree from William Penn University and his Masters Degree in Education from Iowa State University.

Newton By The Numbers

90

Displays of public art & sculpture

1

Drive-in theater

12

Parks

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