Wausau School Board Q&A: Why are you running?

Wausau School Board Q&A: Why are you running?
Posted on 03/05/2019

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Wausau School Board Q&A: Why are you running?

Laura Schult
Wausau Daily Herald

WAUSAU – Three Wausau School Board positions will be up for election this spring.

Six candidates are vying for the positions — two incumbents, Theresa Miles and Jane Rusch, and four candidates who have not previously held spots on the board. Mary Thao, who is currently the board’s clerk, is not seeking another term.

Elections will be April 2. School board members serve three-year terms.

USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin gave all of the candidates a chance to answer questions about their candidacies to help voters get to know them better. Here are their written responses to the question "Why are you running for school board?"

James Bouché
My wife and I have moved back to the community in which we raised our three adult children and where I had the opportunity and honor to teach and coach young people at Wausau East High School. This is a great community and school district, and I believe in giving back to our communities in any way possible. Servant leadership is a mantra that I have modeled for years and this opportunity would give me the privilege to serve our community: students, parents and staff/faculty of the Wausau Area.

Liberty Heidmann
I grew up in Wausau and graduated from Wausau West in 1997. When I moved back in 2008 I knew that I wanted to be involved in the community and offer my time and expertise in any way I could. I’ve volunteered for many different organizations over the years and just recently finished up my final term (6 years) on the board of directors for The Neighbors’ Place.

When my tenure with The Neighbors’ Place was coming to an end and I joined

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the governance council for the Wausau Area Montessori Charter School, I began talking with those close to me about other possible roles and directions I could go. I began researching the responsibilities of school boards and felt that my background working in higher education in college admissions, career counseling, and academic advising for the past 14 years would serve the district well. I strongly believe what I can bring to the table is a valuable asset to the Wausau community.

Mark Holdhusen
I want to make sure the building-level teachers and staff are supported by district administration. The individuals with direct contact with students should have the authority to use their training and experience to make decisions about what students need and how best to educate them.

In addition to keeping the power in the classroom, I am running because I would like to be part of the ongoing conversation regarding the population disparity between the high schools. I also want to be a voice for the Title 1 schools to ensure they continue to get the resources they need.

I would also like the district to consider the current schedule including daily start times, the academic calendar, allocation of instructional minutes, and assessment frequency. Finally, I believe the district should examine the early childhood curriculum and shift the focus in kindergarten towards learning how to be a successful student through more developmentally appropriate programming and expectations.

Theresa Miles
I think experience is very important. I have history with the last three superintendents and helped select our new superintendent, Keith Hintz. I have two children who graduated from the Wausau School District in 1995 and 1998, and a grandson who graduated from the Wausau School District in 2015. I currently have one grandchild left in the district, who is a sophomore at Wausau West. I myself taught in the Wausau School District for 32 years all and 31 of those years were teaching 1st grade at Rib Mountain Elementary. The education experience I have gives a great deal of insight into many board decisions.

Jane Rusch
I’ve had a deep commitment to the Wausau School District, since I started kindergarten in 1965 with Miss Hamburg. I left Wausau after graduating from Wausau West in 1978 to pursue an education in criminal justice, went to work at Taycheedah Correctional and after a career ending injury returned to college to work on an elementary education degree.

When my oldest child was ready for school we moved to Wausau so that they could attend Wausau schools. Since 1992, I have logged thousands of hours as a volunteer within the district. As my children aged out of school I ran for, and was elected to, the school board. I am deeply committed to continuing the excellent education the district provides and look forward to the continued work of making it even better.

L. Voight Smith
The mission of the Wausau School District is "To advance student learning, achievement, and success." The motto is "Educating for the future, one child at a time." The reason I’m running for the Wausau School Board is to support that mission and motto by providing leadership to make sure our schools provide a safe, secure, and effective learning environment that prepares our children for the future and success. Ultimately, my goal is to help optimally empower both teachers and students. Unleashing human potential is my passion and why I get up in the morning.