Southern Door School Board Candidate Jerry Paul Frank

Relevant Experience, Education or Civic Involvement:

• Bachelor’s Degree, University of Wisconsin – Platteville, Majors in French and English (elected class president each of four undergraduate years)

• Master’s Degree, UW-Platteville, emphasis on teaching and languages

• 28 years teaching high school English and French (West De Pere and Mauston) (varsity baseball, basketball and chess coach)

• Long Term Substitute (Southern Door High School)

What do you think is the greatest issue facing public education, and, if elected, how would you address it?

I consider myself a “voice for the students.” Certainly, money, buildings, class size, teacher competence, good administrators, etc. are all important, but not if we lose sight of why we work in this area or care. We should not be worried about meeting technical school requirements or even completing assignments before we have taken the time to teach to the needs of each and every one of the students. It may sound great to tell everyone how we completed all the curriculum, but the fact is that we may have left a good share of students in the ‘dust.’ I never considered the class I was teaching to be a success unless I reached out to each and every student and did my best work to help each succeed in their own way. Too often, individual students are left behind because curriculum comes first, students last. Listening to students and allowing them to express themselves and explain their problems is important. I am not saying curriculum is not important; I am saying it is OK to take some time after hearing a good speaker to discuss what was said and to learn from that. Too often, I witnessed, “Never mind, get to work, make the deadline, no time to listen.”

How would you address the district’s budget shortfall? Do you have any specific ideas for cutting costs or generating incomes?

Throughout my teaching career, I have seen a lot of waste within each school district. It has always amazed me how easily money was spent on areas that really had little to do with students and teaching. In one instance, I remember that my class was not allowed to spend on materials needed, yet it wasn’t a few weeks later, I learned the district was replacing all the doors in each of the gymnasiums. I don’t remember there being a problem with any of those doors and I was in and out of them a lot, having been a coach for so many years. We, here at Southern Door, spend a good deal of money to hire an out-of-town firm to study our needs. They come back to tell us we are going to need a new roof or some other possible future problems. It seems to me, and maybe this is too logical, but we have people in Southern Door County who are fantastic roofers, grounds keepers, plumbers, etc. who could come in and tell us the same thing and at least, any monies spent would remain in the county. As well, I believe we have a fine custodial staff for handling some of these things.

What has caused the animosity in the school community, specifically regarding Marilyn Fitzgerald-White’s alleged harassment over “B4 Southern Door?” How can that be solved?

Open discussion, and transparency regarding everything in the district is important. We have a public school, and public is an important word. It’s not the administration, the parents, the teachers; it is that we are a community and all information should be open and available to all interested parties at all times. I plan to open a website for any questions, all information, and I will provide answers to any questions or concerns presented by parents, students and school personnel.

Click here to see other candidates’ responses.