April 2 Election Questionnaire: Gibraltar School Board

Here are responses from Southern Door County School Board candidates to Pulse questions. These four earned the most votes in the five-person February primary. Two seats are available.

They are Egg Harbor business owner Don Helm; incumbent Mike Peot; Brett Reetz, a lawyer and writer; and Carole Vande Walle, a Fish Creek business owner.

Q:  What motivated you to run for the school board?

Don Helm:  I have two daughters that attended Gibraltar K-12, and I have been fortunate to have coached both boys’ and girls’ basketball teams from elementary through high school. I have been impressed with the quality of education at Gibraltar. When I was approached by community members to run for this position, I viewed it as an opportunity to give back to the school to help ensure that Gibraltar students receive the best quality education possible.

Mike Peot:  I became interested in the Gibraltar school governance when there was talk of merging with Sevastopol. After looking into this proposal I discovered that the Gibraltar tax payers would end up contributing about 70 percent of the operating budget of a combined school district.

The second item that motivated me to run for school board was the proposal to institute a noncollaborative 4K program at Gibraltar. This would have devastated our two child care providers in the area and left working families with no option for full time quality childcare. The best option is to have some type of collaborative program that supports our students as well as the full time care providers that operate a quality program.

Brett Reetz:  A desire to improve the quality of leadership on the Gibraltar School Board motivated me to run.

Carole Vande Walle:  When teaching teachers and preparing/training educators for the classroom, I observed outstanding schooling and numerous ways to use staff, district resources, and money wisely.

Q:  What is your own experience with public education?

DH:  All of my education from first grade through college has been at public institutions. Being at Gibraltar as a coach for 14 years has given me the opportunity to gain insight into this particular school system.

MP:  I am a graduate of Gibraltar High School and UW-Madison. Throughout my career out side Door County I was involved with several public schools as a Junior Achievement counselor.

BR:  My daughter is a Gibraltar graduate. My two sons are students at Gibraltar. I attended a public elementary, junior high and high school in Downers Grove, Illinois. As a lawyer, I represent public school students, teachers and administrators in a wide variety of matters.

CV:  My bachelor degrees were in School Community Leadership in Recreation Education, Elementary Education and Reading. I was a recreation director in nursing homes while my husband attended college after the air force and a PTA president when our children were in school. Our severe-needs foster teenager helped me understand mental health issues and bullying in public education. My master’s thesis was a schema for valuing differences when teaching. I taught children and teachers pre-K to university, including “homes” for troubled teens. I learned about legal aspects of public schooling when I earned principal and superintendent certification.

Q:  If elected, what skills will you bring to the job?

DH:  I have been a business owner in Egg Harbor for over 25 years. This has given me experience in financial management, employee and customer relations and all aspects of running a successful business. I have served on several boards including the Door County Y and the Egg Harbor Business Association, as well numerous committees. I feel that I will bring a fresh perspective and a different outlook on issues.

MP:  I have been a school board member for nine years and have served as Clerk and Vice President. I have had business experience in managing large construction projects and large budgets over my career as a manager.

BR:  I am a trial lawyer and a writer. Through both pursuits, I have garnered the ability to diagnose complex issues and problems and effectuate concise, understandable solutions. I am able to negotiate controversial, critical and sensitive issues and terrain. I do so with a direct and honest approach. I have vast experience dealing with people of all sorts, from Supreme Court Judges to common criminals. I am not prone to being fearful of personal consequences when my intentions are just.

CV:  Some Gibraltar school board members have been serving the district for years and understand legal requirements and rules of order to ensure a well-run board meeting. Effectiveness of a school board is equally dependent upon interactions between board members and administrators to promote high levels of performance and achievement. Among other things, as a curriculum resource, I can offer suggestions based on experiences and research. I have seen what works and what is a waste of money.