Argyle School Board
There are five candidates, Keith Ritschard, Loren Bruehlman, Peter Herman, Stanton Bigelow and Lee Montgomery, running for four spots on the Argyle school board. Ritschard, Bruehlman, Montgomery and Bigelow are incumbents.
City/town of residence: Argyle, Adams township
Family: Married to Kristi Langhus. Three children: Hans, 2012 DHS grad; Will, DHS junior; Sage, eighth grade.
Education: Deerfield HS, University of Iowa 1976-1980, B.A. English/American Studies (double major), Gonzaga University School of Law 1981-1984 J.D., Leadership Wisconsin (formerly Wisconsin Rural Leadership Program) two-year Group X, 2001-2003.
Occupation: Department of Labor/OSHA Regional Whistleblower Investigator; attorney, member of Wisconsin State Bar Association
Previous elected positions held: No municipally elected positions. Many organizational elected positions starting as HS Student Council and Student Representative to the District 113 School Board (5,000 HS Students). Recently elected as secretary, Yellowstone Lutheran Church, and vice commander, Argyle American Legion Post 213. Served as board member of the Argyle Land Ethic Academy charter school during its existence.
What are the top issues facing this district/municipality and how would you work to resolve it?
Maintaining a viable school in the face of severe state funding cuts, restrictions in the ability to raise revenue and even more proposed cuts in the new state budget of $150 per student. Prioritizing the available resources to create challenging well-rounded academic environment. Retaining students and bringing students back that have open enrolled in others schools.
The district has benefited in the past by the work of a Leadership Council made up of a cross section of the community, including parents, students and teachers to advise the school board. In one instance, the Leadership Council, in several groups, each prioritized funding line items in more than one budget cutting scenario to give specific budget recommendations to the School Board. This type of group or general community input will be invaluable as the school board confronts difficult decisions. I recommend that the Leadership Council format be used again for a variety of specific purposes. I served on the council until it was dissolved. We had enthusiastic members that quit, when we were not being asked our opinion or given problems to solve, and were only being briefed on happenings at the school. There are many decisions that the school board could benefit from routinely seeking input from a group such as this.
I work well in group dynamic situations and routinely suggest improvements to work processes within my job. Many jobs I've had in the past required me to innovate solutions to problems faced in the workplace by improving past practices or encountering new processes. We have a very supportive community and I'm confident that drawing upon the ideas and involvement of the community, we will be able to cope with the inevitable changes facing school districts.
What are other key issues facing the district/municipality, and how would you work to resolve them?
Many schools, especially small schools face issues of bullying through social exclusion in person and now through social media. There's no longer a bully shoving a kid in a locker - we've solved that. In a small school though, being neglected or ignored within the only available social circle can leave students feeling unnecessarily alone. Students should be able to look forward to school being a place where they can succeed in a welcoming and fun environment; where they can socialize and build lifetime friendships. Its time for a more proactive approach, not just focused on prevention, but literally emphasizing the benefits of being kind. Argyle is a great place to innovate because we are a close-knit community that truly wants the best for all our students.
Why are you the best candidate for this office?
I am well qualified, with children in the district and former experience on the ALEA school board. I am always looking for better ideas and willing to risk offering them. I will ask questions and listen to parents' concerns. I will work to keep the community engaged in all decisions of the board.