Position sought: Monroe School Board
City/town of residence: Monroe
Family: single; two brothers: Gabe - high school history teacher in Bemidji, MN and David - newspaper editor in Brillion, WI; parents - retired in Green Bay, WI
Education: Green Bay Public Schools; St Norbert College; Pepperdine University School of Public Policy - state and local policy specialization
Occupation: Executive Director, Main Street Monroe, Inc.
Previous elected positions held: None
The April ballot will show four available spots for School District of Monroe board members; three spots will serve three-year terms and one spot will serve one-year term. The one year term will fill the seat that was vacated by Amy Bazley, and is presently held by Tim Wolff. The three highest vote recipients will serve in the three-year terms and the fourth-highest vote will recipient will serve a one-year term. Incumbents on the ballot will be Nicole Matley, Cheryl McGuire, Jim Plourde and Wolff. Other candidates who filed to be on the ballot are Jeffrey Prophett and Jordan Nordby.
What are the top issues facing this district/municipality and how would you work to resolve it?
Monroe faces two crucial education issues: maintenance and longevity of school facilities with possible restructuring, and expanding trade education to meet workforce needs. The decisions made today need to be relevant five or seven years from now. This requires thorough facilities assessments, community feedback and state recommendations. Change is never easy. It will be especially hard on students, teachers and staff. At every step along the way, we need to minimize the impact, smooth transitions and maintain high educational standards.
Teaching students workforce skills and educating them on viable career paths is important. Per the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, there are approximately 250,000 jobs unfilled in the state. This workers shortage is especially true in our community and region. Many of these jobs are for skilled labor not requiring a four-year college degree. Having a curriculum and budget that reflects and promotes the local and national job market, including trade, four year, and liberal arts degrees, with the same passion, benefits us all.
What are other key issues facing the district/municipality, and how would you work to resolve them?
My work with Main Street Monroe focuses on hosting free and accessible events for all ages to make Monroe a place people want to live and raise families. It’s an ongoing goal. How do we attract people to Monroe? And keep them here? We need to recognize trends and anticipate what people look for in a community. That comes from not being complacent or thinking what is true now will be in the future.
Beyond that, we should develop individualized strategies for business owners who will retire in the next five to 15 years so these services can continue with the jobs they support. Planning for the future is key to providing job opportunities that encourage students to stay or return to Monroe after graduation.
Housing is a genuine concern. Monroe’s enrollment numbers are projected to be steady, but if housing at different price levels isn’t addressed (by community groups, governments, regional institutions, the district, etc.) all other problems are more difficult to solve.
Why are you the best candidate for this office?
My background and current work experience is relevant to the district’s economic development. My job requires a strong work ethic and understanding of our community’s unique needs. I am the only paid employee. While dozens of volunteers donate their time throughout the year, it is my responsibility to manage, be a self-starter, communicate with hundreds of businesses and property owners in the downtown district, and work with community partners including the city and school district.
Having lived in Monroe for five years, my commitment to our community has only grown. Through creating, implementing, and analyzing policy, and volunteer collaboration I feel I’ve developed an understanding of what our citizens want for the school district. I am free to be committed to the demands of being on the school board without compromising my professional or personal life. I want to be a collaborative and proactive board member, bringing people together to move forward as a community.