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Meet three more of the O-W school board candidates

Nicole Rogers

Meet three more of the O-W school board candidates

Schools
5 min
February 6, 2022

By Nicole Rogers

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 from three of the five:

Adam Simington

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

My name is Adam Paul Simington, I have been Married for 26 years to my wife Karen, and we have 4 Children- McKayla, Megan, Brianna, and Connor. Our daughter, McKayla and her Husband have also given us 2 beautiful Grandchildren-Mateo and Nicholas. We have lived in Owen for the past 23 years.

Why do you want to become a school board member?

I want to become involved as a school board member, because I want to help steer our school district in the right direction for the future of our children.  Every child deserves the best education possible, and it is the school district’s duty to provide that service to its students. As I alluded to when I applied for the open school board seat in December, over the past 10 years our school district has been in a steady decline with its DPI report card scores, and I would like to see those scores start moving in a positive direction.  Asa school board member, I can have a direct impact on improving those scores as well as helping to provide the best quality education for our students to help them become productive members of society when they graduate.  

What knowledge to you have regarding school board procedures?

I have attended several school board meetings both in person and through the live streaming service, and have become familiar with school board procedures.  I also have had experience with Roberts Rules of Order from my days as a FFA member in high school.  I have also done research and became familiar with the school district’s policy manual on school board operations.

Have you ever been a part of a municipal board, committee or club?

If so, please list them.  I am a current member of the Holy Rosary Catholic Church Parish Finance council. I am also on the Community Advisory Committee for hiring a new Administrator for our school district.  I also currently spend much of my free time planning projects for F.H.L (Faith. Hope. Love.) which is a non-profit organization our family started 3 years ago to help out people in need around the area.

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

Without a doubt, the best thing I like is the fact that O-W is a small school.  There are many advantages to being in a small school vs a large school.  Smaller class size, in my view, is the most important advantage. Smaller class size gives more personal interaction between the students and teachers, and allows teachers to help the students that are struggling.  Another other thing I like most about the O-W school district is the teachers and staff. As we have gone to many parent-teacher conferences and other functions at the school throughout the past 20 years, the one thing I have noticed is how much everyone at school loves their job and really cares about the students.  That is something that larger schools just can’t compete with. Another thing I like about the school district, is that the school is really the hub of the community. There are so many different events held at the school throughout the year, that the school has become a gathering place for people to have that sense of communal belonging. From all of the sporting events, school plays, youth tournaments,Jaycees craft fair & Santa days, 4-H Easter egg hunt, and all of the other events, the school is a very important part to having a thriving community.

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

After speaking with a few former and current teachers, it is pretty evident that they have a difficult job with all of the behavioral issues that many students present.  I would like to see them to be able to get the help and support they need to do their job efficiently and still be able to challenge the gifted students without leaving behind the students that are struggling. There needs to be open lines of communication between teachers, Administration, parents, and the school board to find the best solution to this problem. I also would like to see our students better prepared for the for the “forward” exam that makes up the school district’s DPI report card. I would love to see O-W’s DPI report card scores be No. 1 compared to other area schools. After all, the entire reason the school exists is to educate, challenge, and inspire our students to use their god given talents to the best of their ability so they can become productive adults when they graduate.

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

Absolutely! I am a listener. Before I make any decision that affects others involved, I get everyone’s input and make the best decision based off of that input.  The key to communicating effectively is first to listen, and not let your emotions affect your decision.  Being a good leader is not about telling people what to do, but instead listening to them,and involving them so they feel that they are part of the process in solving a problem.

What is your educational background?

I Graduated from Thorp High School in 1989. I attended Milwaukee School of Engineering where I graduated with a BS in Architectural Engineering and Construction Management in1995.

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

I am a problem solver.  That probably comes from my Engineering background.  I consider all interested parties before making any decision, and base my decisions off of facts and not emotions, and also what is best for everyone involved. I am also very approachable and a genuinely nice person that cares about others. I feel being approachable is probably one of the most important attributes a person can have as a board member.  People in the school district should be able to feel comfortable talking with the board members, asking questions,and voicing their concerns. Also, having owned a construction business for the past 23 years, I believe that background will help me to make fiscally sound decisions with the school’s budget and keep all of the district taxpayers interests in mind when making those decisions.

Julie Wendler

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

Hello, my name is Julie A Wendler. Many of you might know me as Dr Julie as I may have cared for your cat or dog or cows! My husband, Dr Jim Wendler and I have lived in the community now for 25 years. We have a daughter Jennifer who is a Junior at Youngstown State University in Ohio, a son Rob who is a Senior at OW High and another son Jack who is in 8th grade in the Middle School at OW.

Why do you want to become a school board member?

I had been a part of the school board serving this community from 2010 to 2021. I was recently reappointed to fill a board position that was left vacant.  I am passionate about public education! I grew up in a small rural community in Eastern Wisconsin. I am a product of the public school and was the first person in my family to attend college.Education is one of those things that can’t be taken from a person, it is one of our most valuable assets in life. As such, our school in this community is also very valuable. I want to keep our school strong and attractive to families and educators. My focus has been and will continue to be one of investment. We need to continue to invest in the building not only financially but also by bringing the best teachers and administration as possible. I am committed to this ideal.

We are in an era of change…..the education arena is more challenging than ever.. We are currently in a search to replace our administrator who will retire this summer. We will have teaching staff to hire and a building addition and renovation to complete. These moving parts take leadership and commitment. I have a record of coming to meetings and being prepared!  I am informed, I bring discussion and I am honest.    

What knowledge to you have regarding school board procedures?

Having served as a member and Board President I have a lot of knowledge about finances, taxes and property values. I also have a sound relationship with the workings of the Wi School Board Association and the services they provide our school. I have also spent a lot of time listening to our teaching staff and administration to know where our future needs to head as a school. I will honestly tell you that my work as a veterinarian also brings value as I am accustomed to making sound decisions when the stakes are high.Making tough decisions is not always popular as we have seen the past year, but making the right decisions is what has kept our children in school learning face to face.

Have you ever been a part of a municipal board, committee or club?

If so, please list them. I have proudly served on this school board since2010. I also served as a director of the Wi Guernsey Breeders Association for six years. I am a lifelong 4H supporter and leader. I currently co-lead the Woodgrove Workers 4H Club. I am a member of the Finance Committee for Holy Rosary Catholic Church here in Owen and teach catechism there. I am an American Farmer Degree holder and a proud alumni member of the OW FFA.

What do you like about the OW School District?  Where do I begin?

I graduated from high school in 1988 part of a class of almost 200 students….we were a small school!I moved to Withee in 1996 and found out that I did not graduate from a small school. My daughter Jen graduated with 28 students….I can tell you that my HS had tryouts for everything, sports, plays, forensics, student council and the list goes on. Students here in OW have the opportunity to do anything and everything! We are special for that reason. Our children also have the blessing of small class sizes and more one on one education. We as parents are able to connect with our kid’s educators in an easy and direct manner. Your children in the district are not a student id number! We care for our children and aboutour children. We are also generous, our teachers and staff make sure that kidsare cared for and so does our community. We care. The school cares. I care.

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

We still have work to do in our district. We have an amazing ag and tech ed department that was brought back to life during my tenure on the board.We need to continue building on these programs as trade fields are struggling to fill jobs. Our recently passed referendum is filling part of this need by additional space and equipment. We have been doing a good job of keeping our building up to date and efficient as well. We did a major facelift of the tile,ceilings and lighting in the past few years along with a complete facelift in our HS gymnasium. We are currently working with our architect to remedy some other small building deficits. We are also looking at a new math curriculum tokeep up to date! Moving forward we still need to be able to offer our high school students the ability to take Advance Placement classes to be competitive with other students graduating from larger school districts.  And we need to bring our children up to gradelevel in a very trying environment still. We can do better, and we will!

Would you consider yourself fair minded and open to other opinions?

If so, explain. Yes, I do consider myself open minded. I do not react in a manner that is divisive. I love a good debate and know that facilitating a good conversation allows us to grow as a Board and make sound decisions. I appreciate everyone’s opinion and respect it. I spent a lot of time in school to get to be a doctor. I am very good at “getting the answer right”…….but not all questions have the right answer. A good leader navigates the question to make the best decisions for the group. We continue to make decisions based on input from CDC as witnessed bythe passing of updated isolation and quarantine guidelines at the last meeting...passed by unanimous vote!

What is your educational background?

I graduated from Shawano High in 1988, graduated with a Dairy Science Bachelors Degree in 1992and graduated with a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine Degree in 1996 from UW-Madison.

What strengths do you have, that you feel would benefit the school and the school board?  I am a leader. Since my days as a youngster in 4H or FFA you will have found me to have served. I don’t just belong to too many organizations. I love to lead. I am honest. I always do my homework. I am dependable and will work hard tocontinue to serve the people of this school district. I believe in public education because it is the foundation for our youth. My philosophy in most parts of life and especially for this school district is to leave it better than I found it!  I hope to continue tosee more people remain engaged in their children’s education.

Nathasha Zarins

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

Natasha Zarins. My husband, Jason and I have 3 children. Nathan is a junior, Zachary is 7th grade and Braelynn is 3rd grade.

Why do you want to become a school board member?

The children. And not just my own.The past 2 years have been tough for the kids to navigate along with the parents. In conversations with students and parents,they feel that their concerns or ideas are not being heard.

What knowledge do you have regarding school board procedures?

I have been attending meetings for a couple years now and asking alot of questions from board members. My knowledge may be limited at this time but I am more than willing to learn and put in the time.

Have you ever been a part of a municipal board, committee or club?

If so, please list them. I am currently part of the advisory committee for the superintendent candidates.

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

I like the families and closeness of the community. Having been raised in OW all my life and attended the school, you know the places and people and there is a smallsense of security with that.

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

I would like to see the relationship between the school and the community improved. The perception of the school board being one sided or an individuals’ agenda being pushed, needs to change. We need to be a team and act as one.

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

I enjoy healthy conversations with all people and you have to be open minded to do so. Ask the questions and listen, to actually listen. You should not listen to just respond. If you want to improve yourself, business or a community, you need to take the good and the bad and maybe ask uncomfortable questions.  

What is your educational background?

I am a graduate from the Owen-Withee class of 1997. I attended CVTC in 2018 for business management.

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

I am very dedicated, hard-working, open minded and team orientated, and I feel that these qualities would be an asset to the school board. I enjoy talking with people and collecting thoughts and ideas about a variety of topics. My family teases me about a “quick run to the store”as they know I will start talking to somebody and it will be a while.

 

This article was orginally reported by
Nicole Rogers

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

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