Three candidates are vying for two seats on the Wisconsin Heights School Board in the April 1 election. Each seat is a three-year term. (I) indicates incumbent.

Sue Beil (I)

Age: 61

Address: 10363 E. Hudson Road, Mazomanie

Job: None

Political experience: Wisconsin Heights School Board, nine years

Other public service: Worked for state of Wisconsin 15 years

Education: High school

James Kartman

Age: 37

Address: 322 Wall St., Mazomanie

Job: Dane County deputy sheriff and contract deputy for the village of Black Earth

Political experience: None

Other public service: Member of the Wisconsin Heights Optimist Club; member of the local Knights of Columbus Council 7811; former chapter president of Alpha Phi Omega, a national service fraternity while attending the University of Dubuque

Education: Bachelor’s degree in education, University of Dubuque; four years of military training with the U.S. Army, graduate of the Noncommissioned Officers Academy; graduate of the Correctional Academy for the Wisconsin Department of Corrections; graduate of the Police Academy at Madison Area Technical College

Tom Turk (I)

Age: 45

Address: 4896 Highway F, town of Black Earth

Job: Sales

Political experience: Wisconsin Heights School Board, 12 years.

Other public service: Wisconsin Heights Gridiron Club

Education: Wisconsin Heights High School


What distinguishes you from your opponents?

Beil: I have served on the Wisconsin Heights School Board for nine years and was a member of AFSCME for 15 years serving as president of WSEU Local 1449 and president of the La Crosse Labor Council. Being a former union member gives me great insight into labor issues, while serving on the Wisconsin Heights School Board gives me management perspectives.

Kartman: What distinguishes me is my educational experience and established direct connection to the community. I have a bachelor’s degree in education, which allows me to understand curriculum and educational processes and how they are implemented within a school. My occupational duties as a police officer working in the district involve direct interaction and communication with the local residents.

Turk: I believe I bring a common-sense approach to solving issues. I am a fiscal conservative who understands where we need to apply our money to give our students the tools they need to be able to move on to the next chapter of their lives.

What do you feel the school district does well?

Beil: Our district has been fortunate enough to keep our class sizes low, our academic offerings broad, and our extracurricular activities many and varied. Our school report cards and student testing show that we have high academic standards and exceptional teaching staff that ensure student success. All of our staff and board members are dedicated to providing a sound education to all of our students.

Kartman: I feel the district does an excellent job providing opportunities to students. I chose to live in the Wisconsin Heights District so my three children would have more opportunities to participate in educational and extracurricular activities. Students exposed to more activities become more well rounded, and I believe it prepares them better for life after graduation.

Turk: Educating our students. We have three out of four schools that are exceeding expectations according to recent state school report card and rank very high in Dane County. Our smaller district gives our students a more personalized connection with their teachers.

What could the school district do better?

Beil: Our district needs to market our district better. We have a lot to offer students and families, but we haven’t developed a good vehicle for getting the word out.

Kartman: The area the district needs to address is teacher retention. Last year, the Wisconsin Heights School District hired 19 new staff members, or 31 percent turnover. Continued large employment fluctuations are detrimental to our students, as the amount of time and energy used to train new staff directly takes away resources from the classroom. Exit interviews of employees have yet to be implemented.

Turk: Promoting the Wisconsin Heights School District. The district has so much to offer our students but we need to do a better job spreading the word. We offer many of the same programs that the larger surrounding districts offer. We have an excellent staff that does a great job preparing our children for life after high school.

Dennis Punzel covers Wisconsin Badgers volleyball, women's basketball and hockey for the Wisconsin State Journal.

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