Write-in candidates running in Hortonville
By John Faucher
Two registered write-in candidates are running in the April 5 election for one open school board seat in the Hortonville Area School District.
Board incumbent Craig Dreier announced last year he would not seek another term. However, Drier decided to run after no one filed for candidacy. Jodi Brennan is also registered as a write-in candidate in the election.
To help provide voters with information about each candidate, the Press Star sent questions to each candidate. Here are the questions and responses from each candidate.
Why have you decided to run for Hortonville Area School District Board of Education?
Brennan: I have decided to run for the Hortonville Area School District Board of Education for many reasons. I have a senior and an 8th grader and I have dealt with first-hand the way education, sports, activities, etc. has been handled at HASD.
Dreier: I have been a member of the School Board for the last nine years. I decided to not run for re-election so my wife and I could travel more often. The plan was someone would have an interest and take out nomination papers. That did not happen, and I was asked to consider running as a write-in candidate. After taking some time to think about it, we decided we could work around school board meetings and still travel. It’s as simple as that.
What qualifications, either personal or professional, do you have that would help you when serving on the board?
Brennan: I graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay where I received a degree in Human Development with a teaching emphasis. I taught 2 years in the Marion School District as a 1st grade teacher. I taught 5 years in the New London School District as well, 1 yr a 5/6 split classroom and the other 4 years as a first grade teacher. I then decided to stay home with my kids. I substituted at New London, Hortonville and Greenville elementary and middle schools in the past years. I also taught summer school for two years at Hortonville Elementary where I conducted small reading groups.
One of my many passions is sports. I have coached all levels from youth to college. I was a high school basketball coach for Clintonville High School. I also coached softball for the New London School District where I was co-head coach for a year as well as several years volunteering my time with the program. I also coached at St. Norbert’s college as a pitching coach for a year. In Hortonville I was a volunteer youth softball and basketball coach. I have conducted numerous pitching camps in the surrounding communities as well. Whether our students are involved in sports, forensics, music, art, etc. we need to use these experiences to better enhance the education and welfare of each of our students. These students need a nurturing environment where success happens and these skills can carry over to the rest of their lives regardless of the wins and losses. We want our students doing more than just accelerating in competition….we want our students to change the world.
I also volunteer and help out with the Kellers Lake Day Camp with campers of all ages with a variety of physical and mental challenges. This is a huge highlight of our summer where my kids and I are actively involved. Currently my husband and I own 1st Place Trophy and Laser Engraving which is a trophy shop located in our home. Customer service is extremely important to me and I feel this can only help me with my duties on the school board. My experience in the classroom as well as extracurricular activities with kids of all ages and abilities can only be beneficial in promoting a strong education, hiring highly qualified staff, where a nurturing environment of mutual respect is given to all.
Dreier: As mentioned earlier, I have been on the School Board for the last nine years. Prior to that, I was a member of the Village Board in Hortonville. I am also President of the Hortonville-Hortonia Fire District.
What are the two most important issues facing the Hortonville Area School District? If elected, what would you do to find solutions to those issues?
Brennan: The two most important things I think that need to be addressed would be public involvement and teacher morale. I definitely think we need more public involvement. Ideally I would like to have the board meetings webcasted like other neighboring communities do so that the elderly, shift workers, and people who are unable to make the meetings can be involved. Being a part of the school board is crucial to create a strong relationship with the public. An effective board knows and respects its community, and encourages the communities trust in its school system.
As far as the teacher morale goes, the teacher turnover rate needs improving. We have lost great teachers in the past few years and we need to find out why so we can fix that, which leads me to my next point. I think that third party exit interviews would be very beneficial to figure out how to improve Hortonville in the best way possible. We have great teachers here – we need to keep them here.
Dreier: The two most important issues facing the board today are a lean operating budget and addressing competition from virtual and charter schools. With lean operating budgets, the board has to balance revenues (taxes) versus operational expenses, maintaining a strong teaching staff and technology infrastructure improvements. Virtual and Charter schools offer alternative education opportunities for students. We must thoroughly review our current curriculum and how to incorporate blended education where possible to retain students and attract students from outside of our district.
Why should voters elect you?
Brennan: I am very passionate about children and their education. When your staff is happy, your students are happy, test scores are better, there is more respect, and their overall education is improved. We all need to work together as one cohesive team in making the Hortonville School District one of the best in the state.
Dreier: I believe I’ve developed a reputation on the board for asking how new programs, staff positions and teaching positions are being funded. When it makes financial sense, I do not have a problem supporting the addition of a teacher, new technology infrastructure or a capital project.