Byron School Board loses two members in one day

The board will convene Sept. 7 and begin the process of appointing two new members.

Mike Denney and Emmy Harvey
Mike Denney and Emmy Harvey
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Two Byron School Board members quit on the same day, leaving the district with the task of replacing them during a busy start to the year.

Emmy Harvey and Mike Denney resigned Thursday within an hour of each other. Both were elected in November, and their terms were set to last through November 2024. The Byron School Board is a seven-member governing body.

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According to Superintendent Mike Neubeck, the board will convene Sept. 7 and begin the process of appointing two new members.

Denney declined to comment to the Post Bulletin on his reasons for leaving. However, in an email to Neubeck, Denney cited the toll the role has taken on him.


"It has become apparent to me that my duties on the school board are negatively affecting my physical and mental health," he wrote. "If I can't be at 100% of my capabilities, I can't serve the people of this district properly. Therefore, I am tendering my resignation effective immediately."

Mike Denney.jpg
Mike Denney. Contributed

Harvey didn't provide a reason for her resignation in her notice to the superintendent. However, a Rochester TV station attributed a statement to Harvey.

"I stepped down because, truth be told, we have some very passionate community members. While this is a very trying time for all of us, some went to such lengths to harass myself and board members. They then decided to come after my business as a realtor. My next fear was that my kids would be targeted," the statement said.

Emmy Harvey.jpg
Emmy Harvey. Contributed

Like many districts, Byron Public Schools has been inundated with opinions about how it should handle the pandemic. Matt Prigge, who's served on the board for nearly 20 years, said the response has been bigger than anything he's seen before.


"The pressure and the level of emails that have come in the last 10 days have been as intense as I have seen in all my time on the board," he said. "Some of them very respectful. A lot of them cut to the bone."

Jordan Shearer covers K-12 education for the Post Bulletin. A Rochester native, he graduated from Bemidji State University in 2013 before heading out to write for a small newsroom in the boonies of western Nebraska. Bringing things full circle, he returned to Rochester in 2020 just shy of a decade after leaving. Readers can reach Jordan at 507-285-7710 or
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