Seven candidates interview for open seat on the Kewaskum School Board


November 12, 2020 – Kewaskum, WI – Seven candidates interviewed Wednesday night, November 11, 2020 for an open seat on the Kewaskum School Board.

Candidates answered similar questions posed by the board. Each spoke for about 20 minutes. Three candidates dropped out prior to the Wednesday meeting.

After the interviews board president Jim Leister directed the board to bring their three top candidates to the table at the Thursday night meeting, 6 p.m. on November 12. The board will then discuss its decision in open session.

The seat will be filled for the remainder of the term which expires in April 2021.

Bullet points from candidate interviews are below.

Andrew Mazurek – strengths … Alto Sham – bring solid foundation

Why apply – two kids, 8 and 5, in KSD and want to work to enhance system and grow education

Boards role for Kewaskum School Board – purpose of board to provide free public education. Board has communication with community. Establish principles and policies. Most important is student learning. Promote achievement.

How to handle request or complaint – actively listening, gather data,

How to keep students first – all kids are different. Allocate resources with time, money and personnel. Measure ROI, evaluate services. Promote achievement for all students.

What is vision for education in community – best education to be successful member of community.  Need to set students up for success and have an emergency plan in place.

Lived 9 years in district.

Will you run again in April? Absolutely plan to run.

Any questions for board – what is biggest hurdle and barrier – and strength to contribute.

Tim R. – Utilization of resources and that affects the budget.

Jim L. – decreasing enrollment, maintaining facilities, need to find balance

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Clayton Frounfelker – strengths – deep insight into teaching profession. Over 30 years of teaching. Developed own curriculum. Insight into teacher / school board bargaining. Strong skills in critical thinking and communication. Love students and love teaching.

Why apply? – have time to commit. Enthusiastic. Chance to see if it would be a good fit.

Board’s role/responsibility – safety and education of students. Manage finances, construction and maintenance. Act as a role model, communicator to parents and public, leadership, act as a guide.

How to resolve complaints – respectfully listen, recommend follow school board process, encourage complaint be filed in writing,

Vision for education – successful safety and education, students need to find a reason to love to come to school

Lived in district 10 years.

Former student reviews – depends on the student. Every student would say I’m fair, well organized, love teaching, good communicator,

Had any students who failed – can’t think of any student who failed.

Would run again in April – not sure

Lawrence Wheaton strengths– degree in biz admin, purchasing, educational experience good asset

Why apply – this is a good trial run

Board role / responsibility – achieve set goals, evaluate staff, manage budget, address student/parent concerns

Vision for district – highest ed in safe environment within budget so all student can achieve full potential.

Envision running in April – it is my intention

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Trevor Owenstrengths, over decade with WB Mutual, works with $50 million annual budget, staff of 60 – 80, support 1,200 employees and consultants, manage that group,

Why apply – visited and spoke to students about careers, how do I contribute and help improve, wants to grow and strengthen, how do I help give back

What is boards role – important to have student-centric approach to education and setting them up for success

Conflict resolution – listen and take notes. Not spokesman for the board. Research issue to find policy,

School board decisions – customer focus design, how to relate to problem, look at expectations and responsibilities,

Vision – develop well-rounded lifelong learners and those who ask questions.

How does he manage – support staff, don’t micromanage, makes difficult decisions, worked in office, available to work from home,

Lori Bruno-Sommer – strengths – professional as school psychologist and growing up in NY. Have 20 years in schools. Understands needs. Active listener, viable solutions, commitment to education, willingness to learn, manage 15 in special ed staff, support system for teachers,

Why apply – goal to run for school board. Can offer different perspectives. Can bridge opposing viewpoints

Boards role – create a vision and road map, ensure all students get education, youth need academic and soft skills so they can get jobs, support needs of students, be fiscally responsible. Parents have choices. District needs to stay competitive.

Handle conflict – be active listener. Respectful and open dialogue.

Envision keeping students first – I do this daily. I problem solve. Make sure we are advocating for student. Children are our long-term investment. Hard decision is being fiscally responsible

Vision for education in Kewaskum – provide best education possible, give them competitive advantage.

Mental health issues implement ideas – partner with community agencies, mediate with regard to gender identity issues and respecting student needs. Works in Port Washington.

Moved to Wisconsin – 1999 for grad school. Lived in district 9.5 years

Will run again – yes

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Rachel Moore – strengths – have two kids in elementary school, lived in district four years, want to see district flourish, a good listener, have lots of experience with customer service,

Why run – ran in April. Kids entered public school 3 years ago. Got involved in school.

Board’s role – working harmoniously with staff and administration. Supporting staff so they can focus on providing vital service to community. Important to listen. Be good role models for community.

Resolve conflict/complaint – be a good listener and understand why they approached her. Guide person to go through proper channels.

How to keep students first – make sure I ask questions and am knowledgeable and see the big picture.

What is vision for education in Kew – have everyone work together so students and staff can focus on task at hand. Everyone needs to get along and grow together.

Run again – honestly, I don’t know. I’ve been thinking about it but…. 2020 has had a lot of things happen within my family that made me refocus. I don’t know. I want to be an active part of the community.

What would it take to run? – online virtual school with a child in kindergarten is challenging. If my family needed me at home – I would have to prioritize my family.

What has surprised the board with COVID – Jim Leister – virtual is harder than you think.

Ric Leitheiser

Ric Leitheiser – strengths – tied to district entire life, HS graduate, just moved back, strong financial background, recently retired after 34 years with M&I/BMO, managed teams up to 500 people, $50 million budget, experience in big teams and large budgets, served on a number of boards and wants to give back to community. Served on St. Joe’s Hospital board, Cedar Campus, Boys & Girls Club, Kettle Moraine YMCA, mayor’s ethics committee, American Institute of Banking, teaching financial management,

Why apply – timing. Moved back to district and looking to get involved. District has great reputation, lots of community pride but there will be challenges. Keeping pace with preserving investment in facilities and I can add value to that.

Board’s role – distinction between government and management. Board needs to set vision/mission and policies. Allocate resources responsibly. Develop metrics to access performance and progress. Need to work as a team. Understand all perspectives and reaching conclusion as a group. Work together.

Handle complaint – there is a protocol policy. Bring complaint to admin and have a consistent review and response. Good listener and manage process.

How to keep students first – decision making is a set of filters. The objective is does it add to and align to the vision or mission. Think about environment. Think of framework and environment. Decision making is a creative process – want to say yes, not how to say no.

Vision for education – served on a curriculum development committee. Balance and breath of curriculum and offerings. Give students a chance to pursue their own interests. Diversity of offerings and activity.  Vision is excellence in education in preparation for future.

How is retirement? – Six weeks retired. Enjoying it. Last 10 years has pulled me away from community and now I’m back and can devote time and interest. I want to serve.

Efficiencies – resource utilization – experience in performance management. Hired others who could represent vision or organization. Hired people who held themselves accountable so others didn’t have to. Understand progress and performance. Need good communication but also need good people.

Would you run in April – yes. This would be a good way to get feet wet. Yes, committed to running again.

Leitheiser asked, “What are you looking for in a board member?” – Sue Miller – us functioning well as a team and keeping goals and strategies in mind, Stephanie Bird – committed to education, team player. Tim Ramthun – willingness to serve and asking questions is huge. Dennis Aupperle – someone with best interest of the district. Doug Gonring – work and ask hard questions and not be afraid for benefit of students.

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