Tim Baehnman is challenging Neal Loehrke for his seat on the Weyauwega-Fremont School Board by.
Both filed nomination papers by the deadline of 5 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 6, to seek the board’s city of Weyauwega seat in the April 7 election.
Loehrke is seeking his third three-year term on the school board.
Born and raised in the school district, he has lived in it his entire life, with the exception of a two-year stint after high school when he lived in Alaska, working on a pipeline.
The 1974 W-F High School graduate is self employed as a water well contractor and has owned Valley Well Drilling since 1977.
He has two grown children from his first marriage.
Loehrke and his wife Rachel have four children. All are students in the school district, with the youngest in third grade and the oldest a senior in high school.
In addition to being a school board member, he is a trustee at Emmaus Lutheran Church in the town of Lind and was elected a year ago to his first three-year term on the Waupaca County Fair Board.
When asked why he is seeking re-election, Loehrke said he thinks someone needs to worry about the children’s education.
“We have children in the school district, and we want to be active participants in their education and in the eduation of our district’s children,” he said. “Deep down, I want to make sure the taxpayer gets good value for their education dollars.”
Baehnman is seeking his first term on the school board.
Born and raised in Weyauwega, he graduated from W-F High School in 1989.
Following graduation, he began working at Weyauwega Union Cooperative.
It is now Larsen Cooperative, a part of CHS, and Baehnman is a LP gas service technician there.
Baehnman and his wife Laura have two sons. Both of them are students in the W-F School District, with one of them in middle school and the other in high school.
This is the first political office Baehnman is seeking.
His previous community involvement included serving on the Weyauwega Fire Department from 1990-2005 and being a past Fire on Ice board member.
Baehnman said he was approached a few years ago by community members about running for school board and again now.
This time, he felt the timing was better.
His children are older but still in school.
In addition, Baehnman has two nephews and two nieces attending school in the district and two more nephews who will be attending in the future, he said.
He believes the community has done much for him and said, “I feel this is the perfect time to give something back to the community.”
Baehnman said that years ago, he and Laura agreed they wanted their children to attend school in the district, believing it is a good school system and the best in the area.
“I just want to help keep it that way,” he said. “I”m running to serve the city of Weyauwega taxpayers. I want to help our school spend our educational dollars wisely. I want to help the school district stay on a good course. I believe in giving the tools to the district that it needs to provide a strong, supportive environment for our children.”
Sandra Smith is also up for re-election in the spring and is seeking another term on the board.
She holds the towns of Royalton and Mukwa seat and is running unopposed.
“I decided to run again to show support for the students, families and teachers in the district. I believe that the Weyauwega-Fremont School District provides a great education for all students and that the current administrative team is continuing to search for ways to support teachers in providing educational opportunities for all.
“As a former elementary teacher and principal, I am especially appreciative of the amount of effort put forth by elementary teachers to support the needs of students.
“As a taxpayer, I want to know that the taxes are used wisely. It is important that careful planning goes into improving our schools and that community members be kept informed,” she said.
Smith was appointed to the board in April of 2010, after Bill Brace resigned from that seat.
A year later, she ran to fill the remaining one-year term of that three-year term on the board.
Smith grew up in the school district. She was 5 years old when her family moved to Weyauwega.
She is a graduate of W-F High School and received a Master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh.
Smith retired from the school district after 34 years as a teacher and then a principal.
She is currently the director of St. Paul’s Lutheran Child Care and Preschool Center, in Fremont.
Smith and her husband John have two children and four grandchildren. She is also involved with W-F Alumni and Friends.