Candidate Q&A: Lodi School Board | Wisconsin Elections

Five candidates are vying for two seats on the Lodi school board. The top four candidates from the Feb. 15 primary will advance to the April 5 election. Terms are three years. (I) designates the holder.






Baron


Address: 212 Strangeway Avenue, Lodi

Family: Married with four children

Job: Office Manager, Mark and Ryan’s Painting

Before elected mandate: Nothing

Other public service: Coach and/or manager, several youth sports teams over several years; ran the Lodi Youth Cheerleading program for over 10 years as part of the Optimist Club; volunteering for several years in my children’s classes; parental assistance for Lodi PTO, Lodi Music Boosters and many other Lodi High School and Middle School events

People also read…

Education: Lodi High School

Email or Website: [email protected]






Scott Bilse

Bile


Address: 310 Ridgestone Drive, Lodi

Family: Married with two sons

Job: Physician Assistant (PA-C), Orthopedic Surgery, SSM Health, St Mary’s Hospital

Before elected mandate: Nothing

Other public service: Youth sports coach (football, basketball, baseball), 2006-2014

Education: Lodi High School; BS in Dietetics, UW-Madison; Bachelor of Physician Assistant Studies, Midwestern University

Email or website: [email protected]






Nathan Dennis

Dennis


Address: W11003 Bayview Drive, Lodi

Family: Partner and a son

Job: Owner, Dennis Snow and Landscaping

Before elected mandate: Nothing

Other public service: Nothing

Education: Sun Prairie High School; engineering studies, UW-Stout; several certifications in robotics and automaton programming

Email or website: www.facebook.com/nathandennisforlodi






Julie McKiernan

McKiernan


Address: 253 North Street, Danish

Family: Single parent with an adult daughter

Job: Realtor, Stark Co. Realtors; parts counter, Kalscheur Implement Co.

Before elected mandate: Member of the Lodi School Board since 2019

Other public service: Lodi FFA Alumni, 12, treasurer for three years; Friends of Lodi Pool Inc., three years; Lodi Development Opportunity Inc. (LODI), two years

Education: Montello High School; BA in Agricultural Economics and Dairy Science with a Business and Industry Option, UW-Madison; attended Madison Area Technical College for real estate law; licensed real estate agent

Email or Website: [email protected]






William Wipperfurth

William Wipperfurth


Address: 6755 County Road P, Danish

Family: Married with five adult children

elected prior Office: Lodi School Board, 1995-2015 and 2016-present

Other public service: Girls’ fastpitch softball coach for 10 years

Education: Lodi High School; Madison Area Technical College for one year

Email or website: [email protected]

Questions and answers

Why are you the best candidate for the job?

Baron: I have lived in Lodi since I was 10 years old. My husband and I graduated from Lodi High School. We have two daughters who also graduated from Lodi and our two sons are still in the district. I’m passionate about Lodi and have always enjoyed being involved in what I could. Having four children with four different personalities, four different learning styles, four different types of interests/activities, I understand that EVERY child has DIFFERENT needs. School boards make decisions that have a huge impact on our youth, our teachers and our community and I want to be part of those decisions that are best for everyone.

Bile: I am a permanent resident of Lodi, I was raised in Lodi and graduated from Lodi High School. After graduating as a Physician Assistant I had the opportunity to live anywhere, I chose to come back to Lodi to live and raise my family. I have attended school board meetings and kept up to date on important local issues for many years. I consider myself knowledgeable about the many important issues facing our district. I believe I can bring a new perspective to the “table” and help build bridges between the school board and the community.

Dennis: Children are our most valuable investment. I will be their voice to provide them with the best possible education and help them prepare for a prosperous future.

McKiernan: I have served on the Lodi School District School Board since 2019. I am currently Treasurer and Chair of the Facilities and Finance Committee. I served for two years on the Policy and Resolutions Committee of the Wisconsin Association of School Board (WASB). I have 16 years of experience in business management, nine years of co-ownership in a residential construction company and seven years of office management in a manufacturing company. My real estate career involves knowledge of contract law in Wisconsin. I have a direct interest in Lodi and have family who reside in the district.

Wipperfurth: I’ve spent all those years of my life trying to learn the craft from school, so I have a pretty good understanding of it. And I love growing the people of Lodi.

What is the most important issue of this election and how would you approach it?

Baron: The Lodi school board has lost much of the trust of parents over the past two years. The board needs to listen more to parents and bring back transparency so we can all feel we are working together, not against each other, for what is best for the children.

Bile: The most important issue for me is now and always will be the education of our students. It is important to me to be able to provide the resources necessary for the success of ALL students in our district. I would make the retention of our excellent teachers and staff a top priority. I believe that one of the main responsibilities of the school board is to work with our teachers and provide them with the resources they need to fulfill their role successfully. At times it seems like our community is divided when it comes to parent/teacher relationships, I would work with all groups to find common ground.

Dennis: The management of COVID cases and the push towards a biased teaching platform. I would solve this problem by requiring transparency from the school board and not limiting public participation.

McKiernan: Our district must be able to retain and recruit high quality teachers, administrators and staff. From our operating budget of approximately $19 million. approximately $12 million is used directly to pay district employees. Without appropriate staff funding, we risk failing to deliver a top-notch education to our students and student outcomes may suffer. We need funding, and a functioning referendum is the way to close this monetary gap. Additionally, the impact that a successful school district has on the local economy and its community is significant.

Wipperfurth: Make sure the referendum passes. We need to pass a referendum so that we can operate where we are now and prepare children for their future. That’s the team’s goal and that’s where we are.

In the midst of COVID-19, how do you balance student learning needs and student health outcomes?

Baron: All children/families have different needs. THE MAJORITY of children learn best in person and the MAJORITY of children are not at high risk for complications from COVID. Therefore, schools must remain in person. If some families feel they need to take extra precautions, they should. Our young people are suffering from academic delay, loss of motivation and much worse mental health issues due to the direct complications of COVID. It’s time to put our children’s needs before fear.

Bile: When it comes to COVID and student learning, my top priority would be to keep the kids in school, I believe in-person learning is superior to remote learning. Currently, I believe that everything should be done to protect the health of our students while giving them the opportunity to learn in person, to this end I would continue to recommend the wearing of masks at school. When the number of cases begins to decrease (possible during this school year), I would support a reassessment of the mask policy with the goal of safely allowing students to be masked and in person.

Dennis: By keeping our children in school and maintaining an unbiased learning environment.

McKiernan: COVID mitigation layers are essential for our students to learn and stay healthy. We have worked hard to create a safe learning atmosphere by implementing recommendations from experts in all areas. It is also important to keep students involved in extracurricular activities, such as athletic and academic competitions.

Wipperfurth: You must keep students safe and healthy. We have a team of people who offer health care advice, a group of four doctors, and they advise us on how to keep our children healthy. And I know it’s the first life experience for almost everyone and so they’re not happy about it. It’s kind of an intrusion into their lives, but it’s what we need to do to make things work not only for the students, but also for the families.

About Edward Fries

Check Also

2023: Meet the “daring godfathers” of young Kwara

As political activity in Kwara State intensifies, an interesting feature is the range of young …