The Dodgeville Chronicle | Dodgeville, WI
Latest Dodgeville, Wisconsin, weather
Advanced Search


Deans


home : news : news
April 24, 2019

4/2/2019 9:42:00 AM
Two on the ballot for one Dodgeville board seat

There is a race for the at large seat on the Dodgeville School Board between two candidates who survived a primary in February.
Darin Nagel and Jessica Wieczorek got the two highest vote totals in a three way primary that also included Tonia Gregg. Who will serve in that seat will be decided at the polls April 2.
The other two seats up for election are uncontested with Mike Knoedler and Mike Humke running unopposed on this year's ballot.
Following are the answers to questions we posed to the candidates.
Darin Nagel
Candidate Profile
1-Tell us about yourself....your job, your family, your background, your education and your involvement in other offices held and in community activities.
My name is Darin Nagel. I am a 1983 graduate of Iowa Grant High School. I have been married to my wife Sherry for the past 23 years. My children are Levi (DHS graduate 2015), Isaac (DHS graduate 2017), David (DHS senior), and Amy (DHS freshman). I am currently employed by J.H. Findorff & Sons of Madison Wisconsin as their Prefabrication Shop Manager. Before being employed by Findorff, I worked for E&A Enterprises in the steel studs and drywall industry. Before that I was co-owner of Tri-Tech Concepts Inc as a Metal Building Erector. When my children were younger, I volunteer coached numerous youth sports for about eight years. I was also the Freshman Boys Basketball Coach for three years under Ryan Bohnsack and Matt McGraw.
2-What influenced your decision to run for the Dodgeville school board?
I have two graduates of the Dodgeville School District and two students currently enrolled in the Dodgeville School District and I would like to continue to help improve the path that our current school board is on right now. I also was approached by several members of the community. My home life is also getting a little quieter, which allowed me the opportunity to run for this position.
3-What strengths will you bring to the Dodgeville school board?
Having firsthand knowledge of the positives and negatives of our school district (my wife Sherry has been on the support staff in the district for the past eight years). I believe my background in the construction industry could be a great help to the current school board moving forward with the new referendum projects and future projects in the Dodgeville school district.
4-How do you view the state of the Dodgeville school district?
I believe there are some major issues that need to be dealt with, as far as drugs, bullying, and faculty wages.
5-What improvements would you like to see made in the Dodgeville school district?
I believe cosmetically we will have the high school and middle school in a good spot, but I know there is work to be done on the current elementary school building. I also believe there need to be some major discussions about administration and staff as far as wages and how to do a better job of retaining our current faculty.
6-Discuss the challenges you feel the district is facing now and in the next 10 years.
I think all smaller school districts will be challenged financially. I also think we will need to address our two elementary buildings and decide how to move forward with that situation. Ultimately, the kids coming out of the school district will always be the greatest priority.
7-What is your view on how public education should be funded and how would you help the district reach that goal?
I think the state, local representatives, and senators need to be constantly reminded of the importance of public education and to possibly create more funding for our public education system. I also do not believe that raising local taxes anymore to fund public education is the answer.
Jessica Wieczorek
Candidate Profile
1-Tell us about yourself....your job, your family, your background, your education and your involvement in other offices held and in community activities.
I grew up in Dodgeville and attended K-12 here. After graduating from DHS in 1999, I moved to Madison and earned a Bachelor's degree in Landscape Architecture from UW-Madison, and worked at a highly respected design firm (Ken Saiki Design). I married my high school sweetheart, Eli, and together we backpacked through SE Asia, India, and New Zealand for one year. We moved back to Dodgeville in 2008 to start a family and raise our children near our families. We now have two fantastic children - Felix, 4th grade and Miles, 1st grade - both attend the Dodgeville Elementary School. I currently co-run our family business, Thuli Tables, and help to oversee 14 employees. We design and manufacture world-class chiropractic tables in the Town of Dodgeville.
Over the past few years I have volunteered in my kids' classrooms, attended many school board meetings, helped lead the Vote Yes referendum committee, and currently serve on the Vision 2020 Committee. I have attended and presented at education-related conferences and workshops at the state level and have advocated to our legislators for funding improvements for our public schools.
2-What influenced your decision to run for the Dodgeville school board?
Both of our children attend the Elementary school, and so I have a vested interest in their education for many years to come. But I am not doing this just for them. I strongly believe that all children deserve a high quality education - and that receiving one is linked to future opportunities in their lives. I want to help continually update the vision of our school to be one that encourages individualized learning in a supportive, stimulating environment - for the students and the staff. The more involved I become in the school, the more my passion for doing so grows. The open At-Large school board seat would be a natural next step.
3-What strengths will you bring to the Dodgeville school board?
I am an optimistic, driven, action-oriented person. I have patience and a work-together attitude. I would be the only board member with children in the elementary school, a perspective that I feel will be invaluable during board discussions and decisions. I have attended many Board meetings in the recent past, so I understand the time commitment and thought that it requires. I have the support of my family, friends, and workplace to make it a reality. Simply said, I have a strong desire to work with others to ensure that all children in Dodgeville receive a great education and to connect our schools more closely with the Dodgeville community.
4-How do you view the state of the Dodgeville school district?
Dodgeville is an ideal size community and school district. We are large enough to offer a wide range of curriculum choices, clubs, sports, music, and drama. We are small enough to have class sizes under 20 students at the elementary school, which allows for more direct engagement between the students and student / teacher. With the soon-to-be Auditorium and Gymnasium at the high school, it will be exciting to see the additional opportunities offered to the students and the community!
5-What improvements would you like to see made in the Dodgeville school district?
There will always be ways to improve our school district. Here are a few I currently find important (not in any particular order):
Increase community and parental involvement in the schools.
Hands-on learning opportunities at all grade levels.
Teacher-led lessons to challenge children who are advanced for their grade level, especially in the elementary grades.
Upgrades / improvements to the Elementary School building.
Improvements to teacher morale and teacher retention rates.
Celebrate our district's ethnic diversity (~11% of the student population is non-white).
6-Discuss the challenges you feel the district is facing now and in the next 10 years.
The major challenges facing the Dodgeville School District are similar to the rest of the state. Some we can influence directly, and some we can not. The main ones are:
a. Teacher recruitment: Fewer people are going into the teaching profession, which results in fewer applicants for open positions. Dodgeville is increasingly relying on "emergency licenses" for applicants who don't have the appropriate degree/training for the job. It would be helpful to earn a reputation as being such a desirable place to work that our open positions are filled with lots of highly qualified applicants!
b. Teacher retention: Teachers do not stay in a school district for as many years as they once did. The best to way retain teachers is to provide a positive work environment based on support and trust, which is something that we can improve in Dodgeville.
c. Special Education funding: Every school is legally required to fully fund a special education department, yet the state's reimbursement rate has declined for decades and has been completely frozen for 10 years (the state now only covers 25% of the costs). Therefore, school districts must cover the remaining 75% by taking money away from funds that are supposed to be used for the education of all kids - and divert it to cover the costs of the Special Education services. Dodgeville spends about one million dollars every year from their general fund to cover the mandatory special education services. This is obviously a huge drain on the limited resources that are meant to be used on all students and programs! Let it be clear, however - this is not something that is our district's fault or that they can solve - it is a problem relating to how our schools are funded at the state level
d. Mental Health: Mental health challenges in children are becoming more prevalent every year, and school districts are challenged with everyday. We must find creative ways to provide more mental health services in our schools so that every child has the opportunity to make the best of their education.
7-What is your view on how public education should be funded and how would you help the district reach that goal?
Public schools are funded with a combination of state money and local property taxes. The formula is very complicated, and it's been clear for years that it is outdated and inequitable across school districts in Wisconsin. Because public school funding is dictated by the State budget, the only real way to make an impact is through legislation. Part of the solution is to change the funding formula and to increase the states reimbursement rates for special education services to 60% instead of the current 25%. I have advocated to our legislators on behalf of public schools in the past, and I will continue to do so in the future.
I would look forward to working in collaboration with teachers, administration, and the community to make decisions and policies that will positively contribute our children's education.











Article Comment Submission Form
Please feel free to submit your comments.

Article comments are not posted immediately to the Web site. Each submission must be approved by the Web site editor, who may edit content for appropriateness. There may be a delay of 24-48 hours for any submission while the web site editor reviews and approves it.

Note: All information on this form is required. Your telephone number is for our use only, and will not be attached to your comment.
Submit an Article Comment
First Name:
Required
Last Name:
Required
Telephone:
Required
Email:
Required
Comment:
Required
Passcode:
Required
Anti-SPAM Passcode Click here to see a new mix of characters.
This is an anti-SPAM device. It is not case sensitive.
   




Life
Life
Software © 1998-2019 1up! Software, All Rights Reserved