Spring Election Preview

Six candidates are competing for three spots on the school board. Miriam Erickson and Martha Luber Pelrine are incumbents. Mark Weborg is not seeking re-election.

Brian Ferrie

Brian Ferrie

4483 Daisy Patch Road, Fish Creek


Family: Wife, Kristine; daughter Alexa and son Logan

Age: 38

Education: Graduate of Crestwood High School, Cresco, IA (1988); attended University of Northern Iowa 1988 – 89; Hawkeye Technical Institute, Associate of Applied Science Degree 1991, Horticulture Science/Turfgrass Management

Occupation: Facility Manager/Golf Course Superintendent, Horseshoe Bay Golf Club, June 1998 – present

Previous Elected Office (if any): Director/Officer, Wisconsin Golf Course Superintendents Association (2001 – 2005)

Relevant Experience/ Civic involvement: Gibraltar Planning and Political Action Committee (2008 – present); volunteer coach, Egg Harbor Little League (2008 – present); volunteer coach, Nor Dor Athletics, 5th-6th Grade Football (2008 – present); Campaign Captain, YMCA Strong Kids Campaign; volunteer time annually to the maintenance and upkeep of the Gibraltar Schools athletic fields; volunteer time to the maintenance of the Baileys Harbor football/soccer field

Why are you the best choice for the school board?

I’d like to see an increase in parent representation on the school board and I’d like to be that representative. I feel like I’ve got a stake in what goes on at Gibraltar having a fifth and sixth grade student presently enrolled. I believe it is imperative to continue to educate the Northern Door community of the importance and need to continue to successfully pass the schools operating referendum. I believe it is necessary to have a school that employs teachers that love to teach. I also believe that without a school that has the ability to educate students to the highest academic standards, and we do, that this community will lose the ability to attract more young families to Door County. It is a demographic we should all be proud of and willing to protect.

What skills and perspective would you bring to the school board?

The most important skill I can bring to the school board is a track record of successful expense management.

In my occupation, I am responsible for two departments that are 100 percent expense driven. Proper planning, budgeting, and constant financial management are essential to the proper performance and successful execution of the goals and objectives set forth by the ownership I am responsible to, and management team I am a part of. Essentially I have an amount of money that I am responsible to spend with no revenue off set. Much like our school. Gibraltar Area Schools have a certain amount of money in which to operate, also, with little or no revenue off set. I believe this put me in a very unique position. Not only do I feel this is a skill I can bring to the school board, it is also a relevant perspective.

The time spent serving the Gibraltar Financial Planning and Political Action Committee has given me the perspective and understanding of how important it is to ensure that our school district continues to pass the referenda that is essential to sustain the quality education presently being provided to our children. Let me be clear. These referenda will only allow us to sustain the programming presently available. And, in these economic times, I am not sure even that can be guaranteed.

What areas of public education at Gibraltar or in general do you feel could be most improved?

I honestly don’t have an issue with the quality or quantity of education being made available to our students and children at Gibraltar Schools. I believe the administration has done an excellent job of studying, testing and evaluating alternative and proven methods of instruction in grade school, middle school and high school. I believe the biggest challenge to any school district in the United States is to prepare our children to be academically competitive on a global scale.

What is the biggest issue or issues the school board must grapple with in the immediate future?

It seems far too easy to choose the present global recession as the biggest issue the school board will grapple with. But the harsh reality is that it will affect every entity, organization, business, family and individual in the United States, Wisconsin, Door County and absolutely the Gibraltar Area School District. A year ago, my answer would have been school funding. While school funding is an issue our district will wrestle with for the foreseeable future, sound economic and financial management must be moved to the top of the list. No matter who is elected to serve on this school board, in the present, or future, it should be their mission to not only survive this economic down turn, but to position our school to be prepared and ready for the inevitable return of some semblance of economic normalcy. Many communities, businesses, families and schools will not have the foresight or abilities to plan to survive these times. The survival of our schools in the Gibraltar school district is essential to the survival of our economic community. I feel I should be a part of that mission.

Lynnea Hickey

8647 Hwy 57, Baileys Harbor


Family: Husband Dennis; Daughter Carin Hickey-Stuth, son Lars, two grandchildren

Age: 62

Education: BS, UW-Stout; MSED, UW-Oshkosh; post-graduate UW-Madison

Occupation: Retired school counselor

Previous Elected Office: none

Relevant Experience/Civic involvement: I have served on the following boards in various positions: Door County Unified Board, Scandia Village, Wisconsin School Counselor Association, Gibraltar Education Association, and Friends of Gibraltar. Presently serving on the Sister Bay Historical Society Board.

Why are you the best choice for the school board?

I have served in various capacities in groups, and on boards that support, promote and advocate for individual and family health and well-being. My background is in education and I am familiar with the organizational and leadership demands in our schools. I am a good listener with effective communication skills and leadership abilities. I have had budget responsibilities and served on boards that have had fiscal accountability to the community. I believe passionately in our families, students, and community and want to serve in their best interests. I believe we need to ensure opportunities for all students, with a competitive curriculum and instruction in academics, activities, the arts, and athletics. We need to promote healthy, resilient life-long learners to meet the demands of an ever-changing world. An ongoing and demanding task indeed, and I am ready for the challenge.

Martha Luber Pelrine

10717 Little Sister Rd., Sister Bay


[email protected]

Family: Husband Ray; son Rudy, Gibraltar senior, and daughter Eliza, Gibraltar junior

Age: 53

Education: Nicolet High School (1970-73); Gibraltar High School (1974); University of Utah (1980) B.S. Pharm; UW – Madison Hospital Pharmacy Residency

Age: Not provided

Previous Elected Office (if any): Gibraltar School Board (2003 – present)

Relevant Experience/ Civic involvement: Gibraltar Financial Planning and Political Action Committee; founding member of BKM (Because the Kids Matter – political action group); founding member Gibraltar Music Boosters; Family Centers of Door County Board; junior Great Books group leader – 10 years (Eau Claire School District and Gibraltar)

Why are you the best choice for the school board?

I have extensive experience in areas most important to Gibraltar today – school funding in difficult economic times and daily involvement in life at the school, including all ages of students and their parents. There is a learning curve with active participation in a school board. At Gibraltar this is especially true due to our unique fit into the state funding formula and significant reliance on funding through local referendums. I am in the school almost daily, involved with kids at all grade levels, leading extracurricular reading groups, working with Music Booster projects and other volunteer activities.

What areas of public education at Gibraltar or in general do you feel could be most improved?

Public education should never be static. School boards and administrators need to constantly evaluate if the educational programs and staff are moving towards set goals. Our children are competing in a world that has significantly changed since I graduated from high school. We need to make sure that we are graduating students that have the skills to succeed in their post high school life no matter which path they choose. This includes traditional academic and vocational subjects as well as use of technology, communication skills and problem solving skills.

What is the biggest issue or issues the school board must grapple with in the immediate future?

I believe the biggest issue in the immediate future is funding in these turbulent economic times. We need to make sure that every single dollar in our budget is wisely spent and work to keep the amount we ask the community for at referendum time to a minimum.

Miriam Erickson

8519 Hwy 42, Fish Creek


Family: Five daughters, all graduates of Gibraltar Schools; seven grandchildren (two that have or are attending Gibraltar Schools)

Education: Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts in Library Science

Occupation: Home economist extension agent, Door County; home economics teacher, Gibraltar Area School District; school library media specialist, Gibraltar Area School District

Previous Elected Office: Gibraltar School Board (2000 – present)

Relevant Experience/ Civic Involvement: Appointed by governors Tommy Thompson and Jim Doyle to Council on Library and Network Development (COLAND) (1995 – present); Cooperative Educational Services Association Board; Door County Library Foundation Board; Miller Art Museum Board; Nicolet Federated Library System Board; Shallows Resort (former owner)

Why are you the best choice for the school board?

Education has been my life’s work with many of my community involvements centering around lifelong learning. It is important for a school board to work as a unit, have a variety of ideas, but then to come to consensus. Because of my education background, I have experience introducing new ideas and initiatives in the classroom, on a district level, on regional boards, and on state boards. In the past nine years as a Gibraltar School Board member, I served on committees addressing student learning, curriculum, early childhood education, technology literacy, attendance, parental involvement, and performance-based goals.

What skills and perspective would you bring to the school board?

I bring to the school board training and leadership in the education field, my experience as a small business owner, and a history of community service in the tourism industry and non-profit organizations.

What areas of public education at Gibraltar or in general do you feel can be most improved?

I feel that pre-kindergarten/early childhood expansion is vital. It is also important to continue the development of technology proficiency along with assessments to assure that our students have reached achievable goals.

What is the biggest issue or issues the school must grapple with in the immediate future?

Paul Larsen

The biggest issue facing the school is how we can maintain and continue to improve the education at Gibraltar during this challenging economy. We have a fine reputation as a school district with full, well-rounded programs, but the global nature of business and the marketplace won’t let us stop improving our students’ abilities to compete globally. Our Gibraltar community recognizes the importance of a quality school and has supported this through passing various educational programs and building referendums. We need to continue this critical planning, as it is our future as an educational institution.

Paul Larsen

3061 Kangaroo Beach Road, Baileys Harbor


Family: Wife, Mert; four sons, Marshall 19, Alex 17, Aaron 13, and Michael 11

Age: 47

Education: Gibraltar graduate and graduate of Fox Valley Technical College as an Electronics Technician

Occupation: Owner of Larsen TV Sales and Service since 1981

Previous Elected Office (if any): none

Relevant Experience/ Civic involvement: Previous Member of Lions Club International Baileys Harbor, two-term president, chairman of many committees including the 4th of July Parade and entertainment for many years. I have coached little league baseball three years, Babe Ruth baseball for six years, Babe Ruth state all star teams three years and currently coaching Babe Ruth baseball and again this year’s State of Wisconsin County All-Star team.

Why are you the best choice for the school board?

I am an independent thinker, meaning I do not naturally go with the consensus; I am a leader, not a follower. My eyes and ears are always open, specifically and mostly for the benefit of the students; I have great respect for the kids. My sights are aimed directly on administration and the board president whom seem to have the majority of influence that affects our kids. With that being said, my belief is that our district families are the leaders, and need to come together and help me provide not just an okay High School experience for their children, but a fantastic, unforgettable, fun, equal opportunity and safe experience. I think many families that have gone through the system at Gibraltar, especially in the last four years, understand we are well overdue for a new, healthy, high standard, wholesome and exciting image that will further encourage our kids and terrific teachers.

What skills and perspective would you bring to the school board?

I have been providing high technology infrastructure to commercial and residential buildings for over 27 years, which qualifies me for important decisions of the Gibraltar infrastructure. Having been in business this long, I understand income and expenses. I understand that financial decisions are a concern for all of us, and an open checkbook does not exist, however we need to provide the compromised essentials for our students and teachers.

What areas of public education at Gibraltar or in general do you feel could be most improved?

My Wife and I have had children at Gibraltar until now, 13 years, and thankful for excellence in 99.9 percent of the teachers. As many people know me, I don’t hide my thoughts much at all, we can improve and replace our administration with people that realize a higher standard, traditional value and good ethics will promote more positive exciting results for our students and teachers. The best interest is always for the kids first, it is their school, offered by God and you.

What is the biggest issue or issues the school board must grapple with in the immediate future?

There must be exceptional transparency of all issues put forth and shared with all board members in order to properly grapple with the future. The economy is in dire straights; our issue is likely going to be financial. Our families may have a hard time affording the many cost we incur during a school year, such as lunch plans, field trips, extra curricular fees and such. I am passionately concerned for all families and how we help handle these costs in addition to major living expenses.

Wendy Minten

PO Box 392, Fish Creek


Family: Married with two children.

Age: 40

Education: Bachelor of Science from Carroll College

Occupation: Stay-at-home mom and avid school volunteer.

Previous Elected Office (if any): In 2001 and 2002 I served as Vice President of the Lakewood Falls Homeowners Association. This unincorporated community consisted of over 2,300 homes.

Relevant Experience/ Civic involvement: In 2007 I served on the executive committee for P.A.T.H., an organization committed to advocacy for families living with children that have special needs.

Why are you the best choice for the school board?

I am a parent of two young children. One is in preschool and the other is in kindergarten. I am actively involved in volunteering in the classroom as well as other areas of the school. My proximity to our youngest learners brings the opportunity for more direct representation of our elementary students, their teachers and their caregivers. Ensuring a strong foundation of learning will allow our children to excel throughout their education. Moreover, if I am faced with a less than popular question, I will find the answers. I believe in defining issues and then efficiently finding the best solutions.

What skills and perspective would you bring to the school board?

My experiences serving on a homeowners association and on the executive committee of P.A.T.H. have given me insight of the commitment necessary to be a board member.

I am determined to be involved in the future of Gibraltar School because I believe that providing the best possible education for our children will serve to make our community even better.

What areas of public education at Gibraltar or in general do you feel could be most improved?

Gibraltar is a great school. However, our world is incredibly dynamic. We need to make sure that we allow for proactive change in order to keep our students prepared for a life of success. With this, we must continue to recognize that the ongoing professional and technical development of our teachers and students is crucial if we intend to meet the ever-changing demands of society. I believe that Gibraltar has the potential to be a school that is looked upon by other districts as a model of how to best educate our children.

What is the biggest issue or issues the school board must grapple with in the immediate future?

Now, more than ever, the school board needs to remain fiscally responsible. Between declining enrollment and the state’s school funding formula, I believe that we need to work not only at retaining our current student population, but also at attracting additional students. Simply put, more students equal more revenue.