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Candidate Q&A: Belleville School Board

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Wisconsin State Journal (copy)

Five candidates are running for a seat on the Belleville School Board in the Feb. 16 primary. With two seats up for election, the top four vote-getters will move on to the April 6 general election. The terms are for three years.

Lisa Bowers

Age: 53

Address: N9221 Wild Oak Road, Belleville

Family: Married with three children

Job: Account executive for Cengage Learning

Prior elected office: None

Other public service: Grace United Methodist Church Board and Belleville Bulldog Soccer Board

Education: Bachelor’s degree, UW-Platteville

Website: 5_bowers@cengage.com

Wendy Fahey

Age: 45

Address: 424 Remy Road, Belleville

Family: Married for 23 years

Job: Registered nurse, American Family Children’s Hospital’s Pediatric Specialty Clinic-Pediatric Neurosurgery

Prior elected office: None

Other public service: None

Education: Bachelor’s degree in nursing, Edgewood College

Email or website: None

Trevor Johann (I)

Age: 35

Address: N9409 Hwy. D, Belleville

Family: Wife, two children, one puppy

Job: Plant supervisor/quality engineer

Prior elected office: Current Belleville School Board member

Other public service: EMT for Green County EMS (Monroe)

Education: Blackhawk Technical College for EMS licenses

Email or website: None

Tierney Keyes

Age: 42

Address: 196 Tipperary Road, Brooklyn

Family: Married with two children in middle and high school

Job: Currently stay-at-home mom, previously an inventory manager with Lands’ End, Spiegel, Sears, and Factory Card and Party Outlet

Prior elected office: None

Other public service: Belleville youth football fundraising committee; PTA vice president in Clawson, Michigan; created a farmers market in Clawson, Michigan; volunteer of the year in Clawson, Michigan

Education: Bachelor’s degree in business administration, UW-Platteville

Email or website: None

William R. Monroe

Age: 49

Address: 314 E. Church St., Belleville

Family: Wife Kelly and two children, ages 16 and 14

Job: Owner/chief piano technician at A440-William R. Monroe Piano Services Inc.

Prior elected office: None

Other public service: None

Education: Engineering/bachelor’s degree in biological sciences, Michigan Technological University/Eastern Michigan University; wildlife ecology, Montana State University

Email: bill@williamrmonroe.com

Q&A

What distinguishes you from your opponents?

Bowers: I work in the education industry and assist higher education instructors prepare curriculum that engages the learning experience. This is an asset as a school board member to help foster student learning and prepare them for the future. Past experience: Substitute teaching, volunteer coaching, organizing youth soccer program and serving as president of church board of directors. Ability to collaborate with others.

Fahey: Humbled to be able to serve my community I have called home for the majority of my life. I truly believe with 23-plus years of pediatric nursing experience and after 12 years being employed as Belleville School District nurse, I can offer valuable insight to the School Board.

Johann: President and incumbent to the school board. My career background is business focused and creating a collaborative culture. I am of a generation that matches perfectly with the administration that is forward thinking and progressive, focusing on our children, our community, and our future that allows us to challenge barriers and build the culture for a safe and thriving learning environment.

Keyes: I am hardworking, honest and a team player. I have a bachelor’s degree in business administration and have worked in corporate America as an inventory manager. My family has lived in Detroit, Chicago and Indianapolis. This diverse background gives me a unique perspective from various school districts. I have always devoted significant time to community volunteer work.

Monroe: I am distinguished from my opponents by my motivation for running — I’m not focused on a particular agenda, or on solving any one issue like the hot-button topic of today’s COVID-related issues. My motivation to run for a school board seat is premised on a long-term investment in my district, and a profound desire to broadly serve my community.

What’s the most important issue in this election and how would you address it?

Bowers: The most engaging issue is making sure students are back in the classroom and a safe environment. Due to the pandemic, many students have fallen behind. I want to make sure we do a thorough evaluation of the achievement gap. Then making sure the appropriate remediation is in place to get students on track. Support of mental health of students.

Fahey: Most important issue is to provide high quality and equitable education which supports all students of every demographic area and address the needs of all students. I will do this by building relationships and working together to completely understand all the issues. I am a no-nonsense, no-agenda and a critical thinker that believes the diversity of thought.

Johann: Equity — We must ensure that all decisions made are positive for all students and provide them with tools needed to have an equal opportunity to be successful. That requires districts to understand the unique challenges and barriers faced by individual students or populations of students. To achieve equity we must look at monetary allocating, academic standards, and academic content.

Keyes: I am concerned for our student’s mental health, declining grades and the increasing education gap caused by virtual learning since March of 2020. I am an advocate for in-person learning, allowing families a choice in which education platform fits their needs. This belief is based on the current evidence based medical data.

Monroe: The most important issue in this election is the desire of the school board to listen to the advice and information presented, and make decisions based upon that information, rather than upon personal biases. I believe we need to be better at respecting our educators and acting upon information provided by experts in their respective fields, teachers and administrators.

What education-related priority would you lobby the governor and Legislature to include in the next state budget?

Bowers: The district needs to be prepared for the flexibility of offering online learning and an emphasis on technology to prepare students for the future. More opportunities for the students to build skills in the trades. Offer a better path for students who plan to continue their education by earning credits before attending a four-year university or technical school. Prioritize broadband.

Fahey: I would lobby to bring vocational education back to public schools. Support high schools to develop career pathways and vocational training. This will not only benefit individual students but also Wisconsin’s economy and manufacturing sector.

Johann: Future stability funding and special-needs education funding. Every year every district faces many uncertainties when it comes to their budgets. Less/uncertain funding means smaller staffs, fewer resources, and a lower number of services for students. The current budgeting model is not sustainable that is used by our state and federal governments, and because of this future planning/needs becomes nearly impossible.

Keyes: Increase high school funding for skilled trades. The demand for skilled work is high. Our elected officials need to ensure that students who choose to attend college are prepared. College preparatory curriculum needs additional funding and we must ensure students are prepared for standardized tests. Lastly, we have suffered through virtual learning without appropriate broadband coverage in our state.

Monroe: If I could get a single issue in front of the governor and state Legislature, it would be to begin working to reverse the trend of decreased funding for public schools. Funding cutbacks and loss of resources have forced our educators to take on multiple roles in the schools, distracting them from their primary role of educating our children.

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