Frequently Asked Questions
Occupation and education:
Associate Wealth Management Advisor — Northwestern Mutual
Bachelor of Business Administration – UW Madison
Graduate of West De Pere 1997
List three reasons why you are running for this office?
My wife & I were both born & raised in the district & currently have two children & three nephews in the schools and I want to play a meaningful role in the success of the schools they attend.
There are current policies that I feel the board could be doing a better job with – COVID policies & library/curriculum policies and I am not confident in some of the members ability to address future issues/policies.
I think my 20yr financial background and being a Certified Public Accountant (CPA®) & Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) will provide a different & valuable perspective to the board.
What is the most important issue facing the School District?
Moving on from COVID, which is multifaceted. In addition to the direct difficulties caused by COVID: shielding, cleaning, distancing, masking, quarantining, remote learning, etc, COVID has also caused a lot of indirect difficulties, too, like division amongst students, teachers & administrators in terms of their personal beliefs & preferred ways of dealing with it at every stage. It will take some time, but it is incumbent that we look for ways to restore normalcy back into our lives.
What is your understanding of the Board of Education’s role in decision making in the district?
It is my understanding that the school board has the final authority to determine what needs to happen, and the district administrator and staff are given a degree of leeway to determine how to make it happen.
How will you engage the community to improve public schools in the district?
The interests of many groups play into nearly every decision the board makes, so it is imperative that board members strive to get an understanding of each group’s perspective. I plan to engage the community by interacting with individuals & groups that have knowledge & experience in areas that I do not & using their insight in my decision-making process.
Do you agree with the decisions your school district has made
about COVID mitigation strategies, such as mask requirements or
In the beginning, when much was unknown, I was ok with the school’s mitigation strategies. Like most, I thought that it would be short lived, and we’d be able to return to normal soon. However, as I learned more about the virus, masks, social distancing & quarantining I began to realize much of what was being suggested was either ineffective and/or did not properly consider the cost to our children.
The fact that we are still requiring children to mask using basically any material they see fit to comply, shows that some have not learned much and it’s time for our policies to change.
COVID is probably going to be with us like the seasonal flu. With the Omicron variant being the mildest strain yet, it is time for the schools to begin rapidly tapering their COVID policies into our historical policies for the flu.
What are your thoughts on virtual learning and communicating virtually as an option for students and faculty?
I’m more comfortable with virtual options for older students (high school & maybe middle school) than I am for younger students, primarily because they are capable of being responsible for learning this way and because I believe that it can help with their transition to college & even the workforce where they will need the ability to be more independent. Younger students, however, I believe need more support, structure & exposure to learning/working with others at that stage to be more successful.
In light of increased competition between school districts for professional educators, what would you propose to make the School District more attractive to current and prospective employees?
Increased compensation for those with a track record of success. To the extent possible, smaller class sizes or student load. Increased availability of part-time positions.
What is your position on pay systems for teachers? Do you think teachers should earn more each year based on experience and education? Or do you support a merit pay system based on administrator evaluations and/or student test scores?
I think the best system is a combination of both. I think experience & education is valuable and should play a role in the overall pay that a teacher receives, however, I believe that a teacher’s overall effectiveness (their ability to improve the outcome of students) should play a bigger role.
Over the last year WI faced a record number of resignations and we are facing staffing shortages across the state. What are you going to do to ensure educator retention?
I assume that the record of resignations over the last year has been primarily from the additional demands & challenges presented with COVID. There are many reasons why someone may choose to leave; it is important to first identify those reasons so that the administration, with the help of the board, if necessary, can best address them.
What is your opinion of charter and voucher program schools? In particular, do you feel they are a threat or a needed additional option in today's educational climate? Do you support or oppose the recent expansion of the program?
I am of the belief that competition is almost always better. Whether in the private or public sector, competition increases choice & accountability, improves quality & operational efficiency, lowers costs & rewards high achievers. I think competition often improves outcomes for students (particularly those trapped in failing schools), increases the effectiveness of teachers and gives parents and taxpayers more control over where their dollars are spent.
How do you feel about the following statement: "I believe that each and every student, whether a person of color or white, Indigenous or immigrant, LGBTQIA+ or not, should be free to express their authentic selves.
I’m fine with the statement, but I do think the word “express” needs to be defined. Does it include using restrooms that they prefer or participating in sports/activities that don’t align with their biological sex? For the safety & fairness to our students, I do not support those activities.
What is your comfort level of discussing, analyzing, and evaluating the historical and contemporary effects of racism and the role of race in the past and present in a school setting? And how would you pushback to opposition of those fighting for the history, and effects of racism, be taught in schools?
I’m comfortable with race & racism being covered in school so long as it is historically & contemporarily accurate in its representation and put into its proper context. It should not be politicized nor used to place guilt or victimhood on anybody. There are valuable lessons that should be learned about racism that students should have exposure to.
What about literature being taught or in our libraries? Do you have concerns about sexually explicit books, books depicting drug use or books pushing social justice being readily available for children without their parent’s knowledge and consent?
There needs to be more transparency in the process/procedure of dealing with materials flagged (by parents or the schools) as potentially problematic. I assume the curriculum department has a vetting process for what is allowed into the schools, but there are many instances of books that have either been missed or not considered problematic by the school but certainly are to some parents. The current process/procedure, the way I understand it, deals only with the parent who flagged the material leaving all other possibly concerned parents ignorant to what they, too, might not want their children exposed to.
When potentially problematic material is identified, there should be an easy way for parents who may also be concerned to see what was flagged, why it was flagged and what the schools plan of action regarding that title is.
What is the West De Pere School District doing well?
According to a 2021 US News & World Report study, which looks at performance on state-required tests, graduation rates & how well they prepare students for college, our high school is ranked #1 in the Green Bay metro area. According to a 2022 Niche.com study, which in addition to academic achievement, also grades schools in areas like sports, diversity, and quality of school administration, our district is in the top 10% for “best places to teach” & “districts with the best teachers” and in the top 5% for “best districts for athletes.”
From a personal perspective, both while I was a student in the district and as a parent of two students now, I’ve always felt that the West De Pere School district was one of the best around. In fact, one of the main drivers for us moving back to this area from the Milwaukee area in 2013 was specifically to have our children in the West De Pere school district.
What do you think the role of extracurricular activities should be in the School District of West De Pere?
Extracurricular activities play an important role in helping our youth explore their interests, widen their social circles, improve with time management and more. Offering a large variety of activities allows for more students to find a niche that works for them, something that I think is more important now than ever since our kids have just gone through a terrible period of separation & isolation caused by a combination of the pandemic & our school’s response to it.