March 31, 2018 – West Bend, WI – Tuesday, April 3 is election day. Voters in the West Bend School District will be asked to select two of four candidates to serve our community. During the past several months, I’ve learned that most of the positions of the four candidates are actually quite similar. And, yes, there are a few issues like curriculum where our approaches are different.
I’d like to take a slightly different approach in this letter. Let’s discuss one of the issues we have in common – the recruitment of a high-quality superintendent for our district. I know that Kurt Rebholz and I agree this should be the district’s number one priority. I’m pretty confident Mrs. Weigand and Mr. Schmiege would at least agree this issue is very high on their list of priorities, too.
We should be proud of our educators. In the absence of a superintendent, our administration and teachers have stepped up. They have done a solid job keeping the wheels on. The day-to-day activities of the district to educate our children have proceeded onward without interruption. Our community owes special thanks to Laura Jackson, who has served as our interim superintendent. Our thanks are also due to all the members of the administrative staff and our teachers for putting our children first.
Though the administration has done an admiral job during this absence, our district has had to make sacrifices. It is difficult to focus on future strategy and planning during a time when the administration’s efforts are appropriately focused on keeping the wheels on. It is also difficult to recruit key leaders who ultimately will report to the future superintendent when there is no superintendent in place. It is difficult for any organization to achieve solid, forward momentum without a permanent leader at the top.
The candidates have disagreed on approaches to overseeing curriculum. At least with issues of curriculum, we have staff trained in the field of education to help the board navigate those issues, and the board is familiar with curriculum since it deals with curriculum on a regular basis. The responsibility of recruiting the next superintendent, however, rests squarely and exclusively with the board, and no one else. And recruiting a superintendent isn’t – and hopefully won’t be – a regular, routine activity of the board.
If this is the most important issue our board must solve in the very near future, I ask that the community consider which candidates have the skills needed to help the board complete the task with the highest chances of success.
In my 23-year career at West Bend Mutual Insurance Company, I have helped recruit top-level leadership in our organization. During my term as chair of the St. Joseph’s Hospital board, I helped recruit our current president, Allen Ericson, who has led St. Joseph’s to great success. Over the years, I’ve served as a manager of dozens of people and teams. My successes and challenges have helped me form a skillset in recruiting that I want to offer to the district.
As President of Bay MarketForce, Kurt Rebholz has also demonstrated success recruiting talent. Kurt helped found the company. When starting out as a small business, each and every hire needs to be a key hire. He has also built a his recruiting skillset as his company has grown and expanded – and that growth serves as good proof of his recruiting skills.
Kurt and I simply want to help. I ask that the community allow the two of us to use our experience to help the district recruit a great superintendent of schools. Together, let’s conquer our biggest challenge.
Candidate – West Bend School Board
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