The Whitnall School Board will have one new face come April.
Barring an unexpected write-in candidacy, LuAnn Bird will replace Richard Kollauf, who was selected to finish out the term of a board member who resigned last year.
Stephanie Richter, the incumbent, is also on the ballot again and is seeking a second term in the April 2 election.
Bird and Richter are the only two candidates on the ballot, and there are two seats available.
Stephanie A. Richter (inc.)
Family: Married to Jon, mother to Rebecca
Occupation: Office manager, Tadych Financial Services
Education: 1990 Graduate of Whitnall; Bachelor's degree, Alverno College December of 1994; currently accepted as a master's degree candidate for the Helen Bader School of Social Work, UW-Milwaukee.
How long have you lived in the district: As an adult, 7 years
Related experience: Served the past three years on the school board, member of the finance committee, policy committee, and legislative committee. Serving as treasurer for the Wisconsin Figure Skating Club.
Why are you running for School Board? Because education is one of the things no one can take away form you. Our children deserve the best education we can give them, and our society needs the best educated citizens.
What do you feel is the biggest issue facing the Whitnall School District? Communication with all of our members.
Family: I am married to Phil Bird. We have two grown children and one adorable 11-month old-grandson. Our daughter Elizabeth and her husband Adam are both teachers in Milwaukee. Our son Tom is working on his PhD in plasma physics at the Max Planck Society in Greifswald, Germany.
Occupation: Currently my husband and I are babysitting our 11-month-old grandson full time.
Education: Masters in Public Administration from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh; Bachelor of Arts in Community Leadership and Development from Alverno College; Associate Degree in Quality Management from Fox Valley Technical College
How long have you lived in the district? We moved to Hales Corners in August of 2012 so we have lived in this district for 6 months. We raised our children in Oshkosh, moved to Montgomery, Ala. in 2008 and recently moved back to Wisconsin in order to be closer to our family after we learned our first grandchild was on the way.
Related experience: In the late 1990s, I served on the Oshkosh School Board, including two years as president. Since that time, I have continued to advocate for public education in a variety of capacities. I was a governance consultant for the Wisconsin Association of School Boards and was the Director of Board Development for the Alabama Association of School Boards where I provided training programs aimed at creating high performing school boards. Most recently I was a facilitator/trainer for the Montgomery Education Foundation. In that capacity I recruited, organized, and trained 70 volunteer facilitators and scribes who conducted 60 small group conversations that reached more than 1,000 people in order to improve public schools in Montgomery, Ala.
Why are you running for School Board? If elected, I want to be a voice for improving our schools. I believe that it is possible for all of our students to graduate from Whitnall college and/or career ready. My understanding of how boards can make a difference provides me with the education and boardsmanship skills I need to serve effectively. As a member of the board/superintendent leadership team, I hope to focus efforts at the board level on the performance of the district rather than on the management. There are many changes and challenges that the district will need to address including implementing the new common core standards, new assessments, and the possibility that the voucher program will be implemented state-wide. By serving on the board I can help navigate these and other changes so that our schools are meeting the needs of our teachers and our students.
What do you feel is the biggest issue facing the Whitnall School District? Our biggest challenge is creating academic rigor so that all of our students graduate prepared for college and/or a career. I agree with the board’s goals to improve in these areas. We are currently changing our assessments to provide more timely feedback to our teachers so that each student gets the time and attention needed to be successful. Increasing student participation in extra-curricular activities is underway and we are implementing advancements in technology and teacher preparation in order to provide more engaging, interactive classrooms. With resources world-wide at our fingertips, we need to support our teachers in creating classroom environments that meet the learning needs of each individual student. There are many challenges to educating students with limited resources and constant changes in education policies at the national and state levels. By keeping teaching and learning at the center of our work, we can overcome barriers to ensure success for all students in the Whitnall schools.