Meet two of the five Owen-Withee School Board candidates

Nicole Rogers

Meet two of the five Owen-Withee School Board candidates

4 min
February 6, 2022

By Nicole Rogers

OWEN-WITHEE – Five Owen-Withee School Board candidates will be on the ballot for the primary to be held Feb. 15. A questionnaire was sent to each candidate, below are the unedited answers for two candidates:

Barby Serocki

What is your full name? Do you have a family? What are their names?

My full name is Barbara Lynn Serocki. I’ve been married to my husband, Travis Mark Serocki for 16 years and we have 4 beautiful children together: Melanie Serocki (11), twins Aaliyah & Aubree (9), and our son James (5), who those following this paper may remember us adopting from China 3years ago.

Why do you want to become a school board member?

I am passionate about education and I care about our community. I feel it’s my civic duty to help where I can and I feel capable and qualified to make a positive difference in our school that will also be reflected into the community.

What knowledge do you have regarding school board procedures?

The knowledge I have regarding school board procedures was obtained from observing meetings in multiple districts. My family has an extensive history in Owen, Withee, the Owen-Withee School, and school boards and policies in general.

My grandmother was a school board member, my Uncle was highly involved in Milwaukee public education, and my father was on Greenwood’s School Board for 22 years, serving as president for many of those years.

Have you ever been a part of a municipal board, committee or club?If so, please list them.

Auxiliary Board Member, Church Planting Group, Administrative Assistant for a local church, Youth Group Leader, have served on multiple Worship Teams,Community Theater in both Neillsville and Chippewa Falls at the Heyde Centerfor the Arts

What do you like about the O-W School District?

I am proud that my family roots were planted in this school and this community long ago. The smalltown feel makes those in the school feel like they are part of a large family and our staff genuinely care for their students. In Owen-Withee, nobody is just a “number.” Our coaches volunteer theirtime to ensure there are a wide variety of activities for our students.

Our school provides opportunities to all students with a strong theater department and is open to trying new extracurriculars.

Students can be involved in many activities and students who are involved tend to give extra effort toward their academics and become productive members of society.

What would you like to see changed in the O-W School District?

I would like to see a more involved interview process of new hiresas well as plans for attracting quality staff to Owen-Withee while honoring teachers who have devoted their careers to our school district. In addition to communityand parent input, I’d like input from educators, staff, and coaches on decisions made by the board that will affect them directly and, in turn, our students. I’d like to see board members observing in our classrooms. I’d love forour school board to explore the reasons why our standardized test scores may be lower than neighboring districts and work with our administration, teaching professionals, parents, and students to see what can be done to raise them. I’dlove to help promote an environment of peace, transparency, and progress forour parents, their students, and our futures in this small community we love.

Would you consider yourself fair minded and open to other opinions? If so, explain.

Absolutely. Many have called me diplomatic and one of my personal qualities is that I am an includer. I encourage questions, listen openly to all people,and work with them to explore options to execute the ideas best for everyone.

What is your educational background?

I, myself, am an educator. I grew up in a family of educators. My mother was a teacher, both of my grandmothers were educators (back when there were country schoolhouses), all 4 of my siblings and multiple of their spouses went on to college to be educators, and one is now a principal in Eau Claire.My parents grew up in Owen and my Uncle Doug Haselow was a lobbyist for theMilwaukee Public School System, founding the Wisconsin Association for Equityin School Funding.

I am a teacher working at The Rural Virtual Academy at the high school level for the Medford Area Public School District. I have been a teacher for 17 years working in a variety of schools, positions, age-levels, and classrooms.I started my teaching career at Medford School District working with students with emotional and behavioral disabilities and specific learning disabilities and created a program for their students with borderline intellectual disabilitiesbefore moving to the Owen-Withee area.

In 2007, I began working for Owen-Withee serving as a specialeducation teacher for students with emotional and behavioral disabilities and expanding to all disabilities.

Despite my lengthy career in special education, I am also certified to teach general education and acquired a Master’s Degree in the Science of Education with an additional 24 credits beyond that degree. Not only have Ibeen surrounded by education my entire life, my life has been devoted to it.

What strengths do you have, that you feel would benefit thes chool and the school board?

In addition to my heart for Owen-Withee Schools and the community itself, I have a unique level of experience. I worked in the Owen-Withee School District for approximately 14years, approximately 7 years in each end of the building. As a special educator,I was able to frequent and observe most all of the classrooms. This is a unique benefit for a school board member so she can make informed decisions affecting our students, staff, parents, and community.

While I feel my educational background is substantial, my vast experience is what will be most valuable on the board.

Cami Simenson

What is your full name? Do you have a family? What are their names?

My name is Cami Simenson.My husband, Clint and I have four wonderful children (Leah, William, Cora, andWyatt).

Why do you want to become a school board member?

As a mother of four students in school, ranging in age from first grade through middle school, I am very interested in what happens on this board. The thing that drives me the most for this position is to help create a greater environment for our children. I want to see them excited to be at school, excited to learn, but most of all excited to be part of this community!

What knowledge to you have regarding school board procedures?

For the past year and a half I have attended most school board meetings as a member of the community. I have found this to be very insightful to the things going on behind the scenes in our school. I have been very excited for the changes

I’ve seen in the meetings as well. I would encourage anyone to sit in on the meetings to really know all the hard work going on in our school!

Have you ever been a part of a municipal board, committee or club?If so, please list them.

Growing up and as an adult I was in multiple clubs/oganization ssuch as 4-H, O-W JayTeens, O-W JCs, church council. I was also the director ofHouse of Friends for over four years working with the board of directors tomake the program run for the youth of our community

What do you like about the O-W School District?

I like the O-W SchoolDistrict because this is home. My husband and I were both raised here and attended school here. Although I only attended through Second grade I still eel deep roots in our school. I like that we have some of the most amazingteachers in our district, some that have taught my husband, myself, and our children. To me the staff feels like family. And that is what makes me proud ofthis school.

What would you like to see changed in the O-W School District?

I would like to see things to keep moving forward in a positive motion.A better learning environment, more community involvement, and better communication between staff, administration, school board, parents, and students alike.

Would you consider yourself fair minded and open to other opinions? If so, explain.

I feel that as a mother and friend to other parents, teachers, and students I can listen and be an advocate for the community as a whole. I would like to get to know more as well and hear the views of others others to create a better, more broad opinion.

What is your educational background?

I went to O-W Elementary for pre-k through Second grade and was then homeschooled through 12th grade.

Although I did not go on to do more schooling I have 15 years’ experience in farming and herd management.

I also have had 4 years’ experience in directing an afterschool program.In 2020

I gained my CDL to drive school bus so I could work with kids while managing my husband’s business.

What strengths do you have, that you feel would benefit the school and the school board?

I feel that my love for my children and the children in the community is a huge strength that would be a great asset to the school and the school board. With my children being in most grade levels my interest is in the entire school and will be for many years.

I feel that my ability to communicate with many different people would also be a great benefi . I am an openhearted person and feel like I ameasy to talk to.

I also have a great desire to help resolve problems.

Another strength that I believe would be a benefit is my endurance. I do my best to carry on through hard times and try to encourage others to do their best.

This article was orginally reported by
Nicole Rogers

Nicole Rogers, lives in Owen, WI, and is the co-editor for the Sentinel & Rural News.