Position sought: School Board member
City/town of residence: Monroe
Family: Fiance, Kevin Austin and two children, Tyler (17) and Abbey (14)
Education: Bachelor’s degree, UW-Whitewater
Occupation: Financial Advisor at Thrivent Financial
Previous elected positions held: School Board Member (1 term), 2 years elected as Clerk
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?
Funding challenges continues to be a top priority for our district. As the needs continue to increase to educate our children, it is important that we continue to make the best fiscal decisions possible as a board. Enrollment challenges, costly necessary services and lack of governmental funding require us to continually balance needs and priorities.
A huge challenge right now is the physical state of our buildings, specifically the high school. Over the past 2 years, we’ve completed a comprehensive facility study. Two teams of people from the community worked through all the data in search of the best possible solutions to consider and most recently we’ve surveyed our district for their tolerance to options solving these problems. Moving forward, the focus will be to dive into the survey results, decide as a board what the best solution for our district can be and then to educate people about the proposed solutions. Our schools continue to be at the heart of economic development for our community and having adequate facilities is critical. Strong schools encourage a strong economy, one that will help our local businesses to attract talent to the area keeping Monroe and the district strong into the future.
What are other key issues facing the district/municipality, and how would you work to resolve them?
Academics and student achievement continue to be a priority and require attention to ensure that curriculum is keeping our students relevant in today’s environment for whatever path they choose in life. Curriculum changes need to evolve as today’s students must learn and think more collaboratively, closely aligning with today’s workforce challenges. With building improvements will come opportunities for innovative and instructional learning methods as well. Another key issue we continue to face is the mental health needs of our students. Our students today face different challenges with technology and social media keeping them constantly connected to each other; often exposing them to pressures that they can’t seem to escape. Our school district has done a great job of identifying students that may be struggling and to provide mental health resources for them in the schools in partnership with other organizations, but there’s always more to be done. To date, over 200 referrals have been made helping to get students the resources needed to work through any issues they feel they are facing, but there are still more students that need help. We will continue to work as a district and board to put support in place for students as necessary.
Why are you the best candidate for this office?
I have been in the role as school board member for 3 years now and have been an active member in our community for more than a decade, focusing specifically on groups and committees that benefit children and economic development. I’ve spent countless hours working through the district challenges, working to achieve our mission and vision for education and if elected will continue to devote the time necessary to keep moving the community forward. Our kids deserve to attend great schools with great teachers being led by great administrators and I would like to continue to make that happen. As chair of Green County Development Corporation, we are continually looking at ways to help Green County improve and grow to keep our community thriving. I’ve been with Monroe Kiwanis for nearly 10 years supporting youth in our community to ensure all children have opportunities to learn and grow. These are just two of the many organizations I’ve been involved with making Monroe and Green County stronger each day. We have so many great things in our district and our community and it would be an honor to continue to serve to make our schools the very best they can be.