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Mequon-Thiensville School Board voters guide

Feb. 8, 2012

Ed Allen

Age : 47

Employer/occupation: partner, Eclipse Design Technologies, Inc.

Education: BSBA from Ohio State University

Contact: (414) 364-5510; edallen2012@att.net

How do you think the Mequon-Thiensville School District should address budgetary shortfalls in the future?

We should look at "blue ocean" strategies where strategy shapes structure. The MTSD has been facing budget shortfalls for many consecutive years. We have seen declining resident enrollment since 1997 when enrollment was 4,061 students. Current enrollment is 3,497, so we experienced a decline of 564 students over 14 years.

Do you think technology plays an important part in the classroom? If so, why?

Technology plays an important part in the classroom. Opportunities to access information, collaborate with teachers, and create new content to keep students more engaged. Teachers are able to use information to personalize learning based on individual student's needs and styles. Interactive websites can play an essential role in science instruction.

If elected, what would be your top priority?

Declining enrollment/revenue would be the top priority. We lost a "record" 127 students in 2011-12 so it's time to find the root causes and build strategies that are sustainable.

Stephanie Clark

Age : 48

Employer/occupation: Previous paid work in nonprofit resource development and college admissions for Gettysburg College. Unpaid service in past 5 years includes: president, PTO Area Council; co-president of both Steffen Middle School and Homestead High School PTOs; clerk to the Vestry of St. Boniface Episcopal Church; MT Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee

Education: B.A. in English, minor in Psychology, Franklin and Marshall College, Lancaster, Pa.; Master of Humanities, University of Richmond, Richmond, Va.

Contact: (262) 242-0119; Dclark005@wi.rr.com

How do you think the Mequon-Thiensville School District should address budgetary shortfalls in the future?

The budget issue is complex and requires careful and appropriate use of existing tools and resources in the short term while actively planning for long term health. Working collaboratively, we need to stabilize student population and reverse the trend of declining enrollment.

Do you think technology plays an important part in the classroom? If so, why?

Yes. Our graduates' postsecondary aspirations require an ability to interface seamlessly with advanced electronics and computers, whether using auto diagnosing apps in the repair shop or mastering sophisticated test equipment in the research laboratory. Students must be comfortable using computers as tools not only in the classroom but in life.

If elected, what would be your top priority?

I'll drive the strategic plan to implementation because we need a road map. You can't get anywhere unless you clearly know where you should be headed. As a part of that, we will need to assess every program to ensure it moves us toward our stated mission and goals.

Gary Laev

Age : 55

Employer/occupation: president and owner, Electrical- Mechanical Drives, Inc.

Education: Electrical Engineering, BS, UW-Madison; German Literature, BS-Honors, Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhems Universitaet, Bonn, Germany; BS degree conferred by UW-Madison

Contact: (262) 389-8838; Gary.2350@sbcglobal.net

How do you think the Mequon-Thiensville School District should address budgetary shortfalls in the future?

Elect board members who have held direct profit and loss responsibility and can manage tight budgets while innovating to expand revenues. IDENTIFY the causes of declining enrollment. INITIATE programs to stop the exodus of residents and increase enrollment. REVAMP/RECONFIGURE based on top three educational priorities that deliver excellence to students.

Do you think technology plays an important part in the classroom? If so, why?

Technology must provide measurable educational gains to enter and stay in the classroom. Inevitable diversions and interruptions detract from learning and have to be managed. I am concerned that widespread adoption imposes a tax on family resources by forcing students to buy educational electronics they might have chosen not to.

If elected, what would be your top priority?

My first priority is to restore the teaching of math in all three trimesters. The School Board's decision to reduce math instruction by one-third dissolves its claim of upholding students' best interests and representing the desires of the voters. New board members are needed to ensure this gets fixed - immediately.

Roman Larson

Age : 18

Employer/occupation: student/founder of Ninth Dimension (a nonprofit education organization which establishes tutoring programs for middle school students; more than 10,000 hours have been volunteered through the program; founded in 2007

Education: studying political science and education policy at Stanford University

Contact: (262) 993-0888; roman@romanlarson.com

How do you think the Mequon-Thiensville School District should address budgetary shortfalls in the future?

The district must use all available possibilities, ranging from tools provided in the Budget Repair Bill to streamlining district programs, when considering shortfalls. Additionally, the district must work to increase enrollment by working with Mequon and Thiensville to examine housing policy.

Do you think technology plays an important part in the classroom? If so, why?

Technology plays a crucial role in education, both inside and outside the classroom. Providing students with an opportunity to learn in new ways and experience concepts like never before, technology continues to revolutionize education. MTSD must continue integrating 21st-century tools into the educational process.

If elected, what would be your top priority?

My top priority is to ensure that the best teachers are in MTSD classrooms. Mediocre or good enough will no longer be acceptable. While the district should re-examine issues like the trimester schedule, high quality teachers who create an intellectually stimulating environment are critical to the success of the district.

Cindy Miske

Age : 46

Employer/occupation: business owner; volunteer as a youth ministry leader

Education: BS in Human Resources from UW-Milwaukee

Contact: (262) 242-9772; cmiske@mtsd.k12.wi.us

How do you think the Mequon-Thiensville School District should address budgetary shortfalls in the future?

The budgetary shortfalls are directly linked to our decade long decline in enrollment. In the short- and midterm we can continue to use internal options. In the long term we must develop a shared strategy among the city, village, business community and the district that supports economic growth and vitality.

Do you think technology plays an important part in the classroom? If so, why?

Yes. We need to provide our students with 21st-century skills.

If elected, what would be your top priority?

My priority is to maintain the highest quality education considering the budgetary constraints of the district.

Cheryle Rebholz

Age : 52

Employer/occupation: owner of Faces II Esthetic Salon

Education: associate degree in business administration from MATC

Contact: (262) 238-1144; cheryle_rebholz@yahoo.com

How do you think the Mequon-Thiensville School District should address budgetary shortfalls in the future?

This past budget year the community already invested $52 million into the Mequon-Thiensville School District. What should take place is to retrofit the schools to match students in the district. A strategic enrollment plan and good fiscal management. Cutting costs alone doesn't sustain a healthy business or a school system.

Do you think technology plays an important part in the classroom? If so, why?

Technology is important. We are using it now to communicate. The schools responsibility is to decide wants and needs for technology and have oversight for any abuse or misuse from school personnel as well as students.

If elected, what would be your top priority?

Reintroduce the new clean Technical Trade Professions! Students are not a "one size fits all" education track for liberal arts colleges. The schools need to foster our future students to be the next generation of entrepreneurs. I would utilize my relationship in the business community to promote and recruit partnerships.

Michele Ziegler

Age : 45

Employer/occupation: Cardinal Stritch University, Special Education Department - assistant professor and chair of the Undergraduate Department

Education: BS, UW-Madison (Special Education and Psychology); Master's, Indiana University (Education Administration); PhD, UW-Madison (Education and Education Administration)

Contact: (262) 243-5880; mziegler3@wi.rr.com

How do you think the Mequon-Thiensville School District should address budgetary shortfalls in the future?

Short term I advocate using use of employee salary freeze, custodial outsourcing and decreased staffing through attrition; midterm I would utilize Act 10 tools addressing compensation, insurance carriers and coverage; through strategic planning, which is occurring with different community members, a long term vision will be outlined.

Do you think technology plays an important part in the classroom? If so, why?

As a member of the technology committee, we built technological infrastructure within school buildings which lead to student access to personal technology. The next steps should include professional development to enhance instruction and incorporate authentic assessments; connection to other parts of the country/world; and expanded opportunities through online, blended format.

If elected, what would be your top priority?

My top priorities are: move to a merit compensation for teachers; increase technology skills and usage for students active engagement through professional development and online experience in high school to prepare students for postsecondary education; expanding world language program; and expand partnership with community agencies, businesses and universities.

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