Three extra days doubled the number of candidates vying for seats on the Pardeeville School Board.

Angie Engelmann, village of Pardeeville, and Bret Achterberg, town of Marcellon, entered the race before the end of Jan. 5, the new deadline after incumbent Matt Smith unexpectedly dropped out of the race.

Because Smith dropped out Dec. 29, a week past the deadline for incumbents to file for non-candidacy, state statute allowed the district to extend its deadline by three days, Superintendent Gus Knitt said.

Pardeeville now has four candidates vying for two at-large seats, the others being incumbent Dan Pulver and retired educator Phil Kamrath. Terms on the seven-member board run for three years.

“I look at this and say it’s good that people are interested in serving on this school board,” Knitt said of the April election. It’s the opposite of what Pardeeville saw six years ago, when two incumbents dropped out – the two seats eventually filled by write-in candidates Smith and Kathy Morrison. Morrison served one term and Smith served two before deciding not to seek a third in order to spend more time with his family.

“Pardeeville is a community that’s very supportive of its schools, and this confirms that,” Knitt said of the candidates, speaking also of Smith and Morrison because they were willing to serve the district as write-ins. “They all believe education is important. That’s a good sign.”

Engelmann is a registered dental hygienist for the nonprofit organization Access Community Dental Clinic in Sun Prairie. The clinic provides dental care for the uninsured, she said.

She’s the president of the Parent Teacher Organization at the elementary school, and she has three children attending school in the district.

“I have a lot of friends who are staff members, teachers, board staff, and a couple of them asked if I would (enter),” Engelmann said. “I’m a straight shooter, I have good ethics and I want what’s best for the students and also the staff.

“I think if you have a place where you love to teach at and are happy at, you can be successful, and the students’ success will benefit because of that.”

Engelmann is very much involved in the community, she said, often volunteering for Pardeeville’s Watermelon Festival, and as PTO president, she worked to attain a $100,000 grant for playground equipment at the elementary school.

“I love kids,” she said.

Achterberg is a physical therapist in Beaver Dam and Columbus. After graduating from Pardeeville High School at the top of his class in 1991, he received his bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, and he received his master’s degree in physical therapy from Carroll University in Waukesha.

“I want to see the district keep its high academic standards, and for the schools to stay strong in extracurricular activities,” he said.

Achterberg often coaches youth sports in the area, including basketball and baseball, and he has three children attending school in the district.

Follow Noah Vernau on Twitter @NoahVernau

Portage Daily Register reporter