MAYVILLE — Voters in the School District of Mayville will have a choice in Tuesday’s school board election. All three incumbents on the ballot will face challengers for a position on the board. Each of the six candidates provided written responses when asked why they were seeking either another term or to join the board for the first time.
John Westphal (Zone 1 – North)
John Westphal is an application sales engineer who has resided in the Mayville area for more than 30 years.
He has been married to his wife, Laurie, for 40 years and they have two sons, David and Scott. He has been a Mayville School Board member for 22 years (15 years as president).
“I believe that public education is a cornerstone to a great community,” Westphal wrote. “Our school system needs to efficiently and effectively prepare our youth for both life and career. It is also important that our schools offer a diverse curriculum that allows learners to choose an education path that supports their career ambitions and prepares them for post-graduation.
“Safety and technology are also very important in today’s schools, with continued investments necessary to ensure our schools are safe and up-to-date. As a member of the Mayville School Board, I will continue to put a priority on hiring an effective administration to accomplish these goals, while being mindful of the tax implications.”
Sue Steele (Zone 1 – North)
Sue Steele is self-employed in real estate management. She has lived in the town of LeRoy for 18 years, been married for 25 years and has a 19-year-old daughter.
“I have attended school board meetings 85 to 90 percent of the time since 2014 in order to be more active and involved with the education of my daughter. I am running for candidacy because I would like to see a higher quality of education, accountability, and fiscal responsibility,” Steele wrote. “Education is the most important aspect. I would like to bring in a more traditional approach to education instead of the experimental personalized learning. I feel that technology is important; however, there seems to be too much screen time.
“The school board’s job is to hire a superintendent to oversee education in the schools. We need to have accountability from the board, and the superintendent on down. With declining enrollment, we need to be extra careful with finances so we can avoid having to make cuts in the future.”
James Carl Congdon (Zone 3 – South)
James Congdon is a retired biologist/supervisor for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources who has lived in the town of Williamstown for 46 years. He and his wife, Cheryl, have three daughters who graduated from Mayville High School; Laura, Christine and Sarah hold professional level positions. He has been a Mayville School Board member for 32 years and has held the office of president, vice president, treasurer and secretary during his tenure.
“We are at the beginning of a new era in education in Mayville, ready to meet the needs of future graduates, with the addition, remodeling and renovation of our 55-year-old Mayville High School building, and renovation/updating of Mayville Middle School and Parkview School. I am concerned about our school district being able to continue to maintain our excellent education program in today’s challenging financial and political climate,” Congdon wrote. “I am a retired senior citizen who understands that cost of education cannot exceed the ability of our community to support it. But I also know that we must invest in our schools to provide a safe, modern learning environment that nurtures all learners.
“Our school system must be competitive with neighboring school districts and comparable in cost for our community to grow and prosper. Our schools must provide the education our children will need to be successful citizens, prepare our graduates for higher education, and prepare/train graduates entering the workforce to meet the needs of industry in our community. I would like to continue to play a role in the decision-making process on the Mayville Board of Education.”
Patrick O’Toole (Zone 3 – South)
Patrick O’Toole is a logistics manager. He and his wife, Susan, have five children: Jason, Ryan, George, Chrissy and Erin.
“I am concerned about facility and infrastructure maintenance. With 24 million taxpayer dollars on the line, I want to ensure future decisions regarding building and facility maintenance are completed when necessary and by qualified technicians,” O’Toole wrote. “I am concerned about the shallow, 13-vote margin representing the desires of only 50 percent of the district’s participating voters in the April 2017 referendum. I feel I will provide initiatives and solutions to unite the district, not continue to divide it.
“After attending school board meetings and asking questions, beginning in 2014, I realized the majority of this board has served the district for over 20-30 years. It is time to consider issues from a new perspective. Ultimately, I feel I possess a more measured approach to determining if an initiative has met all the tests to proceed to a vote. I will not be a status quo member on the school board.”
Laangela Sheri Davis (Zone 4 – City, one year term)
Laangela Sheri Davis is a CDL bus driver for Horicon School District (15 years), forklift driver at Quad Graphics and former USPS postmaster (12 years). She has five children, four of whom will be going to Mayville schools. She currently sits on the school board, having been appointed in December 2017.
“I have already helped to make positive changes in the hiring process of new staff, administration communication and making more classes eligible for college credit. I have been personally talking with teachers and staff to hear the challenges they face as well as learn about their accomplishments,” Davis wrote. “I am interested in being on the school board to be a parent liaison with the district. I became aware of bullying/threatening situations in the schools and wanted to become more involved to affect positive change. I have a vested interest in creating the best environment for all children to learn and thrive.
“Through my former career as a postmaster, I have developed skills in listening and problem-solving. In my current experience driving bus for school-age children, I see firsthand the challenges these kids are facing every day. I am new to the district, so I am still learning all of the local issues, but I am approachable and I have the energy and desire to connect to the community as a whole and develop common-sense solutions. I am excited to help foster an improved experience for everyone in the district.”
Ronald Andes (Zone 4 – City, one year term)
Ronald Andes is a general construction contractor and property manager. He is a single father of four children, 16-year-old son Colby, 12-year-old twin daughters Kylie and Sophie, and 9-year-old son Johnny. His friend Airriann encourages and supports him.
“I’ve been an active participant in past school board meetings where I’ve made it a point to represent the views of the less fortunate and retired members of the district, a segment of the community I feel knowledgeable and passionate about,” Andes said. “I believe that we need to know that our children are safe in our schools and that they are receiving an excellent education that creates opportunities for a successful future. I want to play a more direct role in ensuring we deliver quality schools and a learning environment that will draw new families to our wonderful community.
“This growth would be of further benefit to all members of the community as more families would be contributing toward the tax base, distributing the overall tax burden of the $24.5 million (plus interest) referendum debt across this larger base and reducing the cost per individual taxpayer in the school district.”