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Four candidates for Darlington School Bd.

Shcool District of Darlington

Four candidates for Darlington School Bd.

Left to right: Matt Crist, Joe Schilling, Donna Jean Wiegel and Nick Zuberbuhler.

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POSTED March 30, 2017 9:52 a.m.

There will be four candidates on the ballot for the Darlington School Board of Education election on April 5: Matt Crist, Joe Schilling, Donna Jean Wiegel and Nick Zuberbuhler. These four will be competing for three positions open on the board.
The Republican Journal sent each candidate a questionnaire, so voters would be able to see the candidates’ views and stances on different subjects. The answers follow below.
Joe Schilling
Occupation: Agriculture Equipment Sales and Service
Family background: Raised in Darlington, Wife: Jen, Children: Paige, Trae, Reese
Why are you running for school board?
I am running because I have pride in our district and want what is best for Darlington Schools and the community.
What previous political experience have you had? Or any positions held?
Current school board member for the past three years.
What qualifications do you have for the position sought, and what do you feel you have to offer?
I have held my seat on the school board for the past three years and have seen many changes since 2014. During my tenure I have made it my priority to always make fair decisions with the students’ and staff’s best interest at heart. I have never been afraid to stand alone for what is right and I will continue to do so for as long as I serve as a member of the board.
What are the most important issues facing the Darlington School District?
Finding and keeping quality teachers in Darlington.
What vision do you have for our school district during these financially difficult times?
The number one goal should be to try to stay ahead and keep building a quality school. We need to continue to shape one of the top academic schools in the state to make sure Darlington graduates are successful in their post school lives.
How do you feel the school district has dealt with budgetary issues? What could be done differently?
Considering the current financial status of the State of Wisconsin and the budgetary issues at the state level, I personally think Darlington has actually done pretty well. We need to continually voice our concerns at the state level so that communities like Darlington are well funded and able to invest in our school, our students and our staff.
What recommendations do you have on how Darlington Schools can better prepare students to be successful in postgraduate endeavors?
For those students who will go on to two and four year schools it is crucial that we are giving them a head start to college success. By increasing our AP course offerings and training them on test taking we are giving them the necessary tools to be successful in college. I believe that there is also room to prepare the students with more real life skills including taxes, budgeting, bill paying, balancing a checkbook and how to save and invest money for the future. We also need to remember that there is a high demand for skilled laborers in the work force and making sure that those students who go directly into a trade are given the right tools is equally as important. Technical skills classes along with direct contact with trade employers prior to graduation goes a long ways in giving those students a leg up in the industry.
If you could improve or implement one new approach or technology what would it be? How could we fund it? Who would benefit?
One technology that schools are starting to see and use is virtual reality. This emerging technology allows users to step into a 3D world of the subject they are learning about. From constellations and planet mapping to looking at the cellular level of plants and animals, virtual reality is an evolving field and I believe that giving students the opportunity to “step into their textbooks” will give them new insight, increased interest and lasting knowledge on those subjects.
Funding virtual reality would be possible through our technology budget as well as by applying for grants. There are ways to begin incorporating virtual reality without spending a lot of money to start. Google has come out with a cardboard option along with an app that lets users go on “field trips” of destinations across the globe and learn important facts about them along the way. By starting small and seeing how beneficial the technology is and what it is worth to our students and staff we can then determine if it is a technology worth investing in.
I believe that if we were to implement virtual reality in the classroom, the first place where we could do so and where it would be the most beneficial is sciences. From being able to see the actually anatomy of a human being to taking a field trip to the great barrier reef and studying the habitat of marine animals, the possible ways of incorporating virtual reality into lesson plans are limitless.
What would be your approach to be the best steward of taxpayer dollars?
By being diligent and ensuring that when money is spent, we are making sure it is spent in the best way possible, stretching our dollars as far as they can and only using funds for what is necessary.
What would be your philosophy in tackling new issues and addressing controversial subjects?
Whenever an issue arises that may cause controversy I always make it my mission that no matter the outcome, I will keep the students’ and staff’s best interest at heart; that way when an argument is made, I know that I have made the best decision possible for the school.
Matt Crist
Occupation:
    I am the owner/operator of Riverside Truck and Auto, LLC.  I am also a partner with my Brothers in our farming operation, which operates 1250 acres of cropland along with 250 head of beef cows.
Family Background:
    I am married to Cindy Crist.  We were both born and raised in Darlington. We have 3 children.  Our oldest, Ross, is 10 years old and in the 4th grade.  Kylie, age 9, is currently a 3rd grader. Our youngest is Ryker.  He is 6 years old and in Kindergarten.
Why are you running for school board?
As a proud graduate of DHS, I have chosen Darlington for my work and to raise my family.  With that being said, I feel that I have a vested interest in the Darlington School District.  I believe a school is a huge part of what holds a community together and I would like nothing more than to help maintain that.
What previous political experience have you had?  Or any positions held:
I am currently serving on the Darlington School Board.
What qualifications do you have for the position sought, and what do you feel you have to offer?
I am a proud graduate of Darlington. I continued my education at MATC and received an associate degree in Marketing and Business.  I joined the workforce in 2001 in Energy sales and service.  After that, I transferred to Crop Management until 2015.  I presently own and operate Riverside Truck & Auto, LLC and also partner in a farming operation.  I believe my well rounded background in sales, service, and business qualify me in many ways.
What are the most important issues facing the Darlington school board?
Our District’s biggest challenge is the continued decrease of State Aid while trying to maintain a level of excellence that Darlington Schools have grown to expect and deserve.  The ever increasing cost of keeping up with technology and maintaining our building and grounds continues to be a challenge too.
What vision do you have for our school district during these financially difficult times?
My vision is to maintain and excel at a high level but, at the same time, understand that we can’t have everything.  We must prioritize our needs.
How do you feel the school district has dealt with budgetary issues?  What could be done differently?
I believe that the District has taken all budgetary issues very seriously. We understand that both the school and the taxpayers should and do have a voice.  We have worked hard to understand our needs versus wants and to compromise to find a solution in many instances.
What recommendations do you have on how the Darlington Schools can better prepare students to be successful in postgraduate endeavors?
We need to continue to maintain an offer college credit courses.  We also need to continue to provide a well-rounded education which includes athletics, forensics, music, drama, FFA, etc.
If you could improve or implement one new approach or technology, what would it be and how could we fund it and who would benefit?
My idea would be to involve companies and train students in certain trades or expertise that the company would be looking for. The funding could possibly be funded in part by the company.  Both the company and the student could benefit. That student may have a position waiting for them after graduation and the company would be filling that position with someone who has the exact training that they need and were looking for.
What would be your approach to be the best steward of taxpayer’s dollars?
I believe that we need to continue to maintain a level of excellence in Darlington. You can maintain this by utilizing the available funds in an effective and efficient manner.  We need to do everything that is possible to give our students a quality education.
What would be your philosophy on tackling new issues and addressing controversial subjects?
My philosophy on tackling new issues or controversial issues is to have an open mind.  I understand that there is more than one way to do things.  I believe that keeping the people informed is important when talking about controversial subjects.  Community involvement and opinions are vital in tackling these issues.
Nick Zuberbuhler
Occupation: Anesthesia Provider at MHLC
Family background:
    My wife, Mia Zuberbuhler, is currently employed by the Argyle School District as an Elementary educator. We have two wonderful children.  Zoie who is currently in the 5th grade, and Zeke who is currently in 2nd grade.
Why are you running for school board?
I am a proud alumnus of this school district who went on to pursue a higher education and have chosen to raise my family in this community. I have great pride in this community and School District. More than anything, I want to see the future Redbirds have the same opportunities that were afforded to me.
What previous political experience have you had? Or any positions held? 
I have served on the Darlington School Board for two previous terms.
What qualifications do you have for the position sought, and what do you feel you have to offer?
I have served on the Darlington School Board for the two previous terms. One of my greatest strengths is my ability to communicate well with others.   With our current economic status I believe this is going to be vital, as we will be facing many difficult decisions ahead.  Loyalty, reliability, fairness, promptness are all characteristics that I hold in high regard. I apply these virtues to my everyday life and thus will apply them to my school board obligations as well.
What are the most important issues facing the Darlington School District?
Like many other School Districts in the state, Darlington is facing, or will be facing, many important issues in the years to come. Unfortunately, the most important issue is budgetary.  The cost of day-to-day operation has continued to increase, but in recent years State funding has decreased.  Due to this inequity many school districts have been forced to go to operational referendums. Currently, public Wisconsin School borrowing is at an all time high of roughly 1.5 billion dollars.
What vision do you have for our school district during these financially difficult times?
The priority of the Darlington school board and the community is to develop strategies to cope with these budgetary issues. In the past, the Darlington School District has produced many professionals and upstanding citizens. My hope is this can continue. I believe the district has done an excellent job in preparing and supplying students with skills for being contributing members in society.
How do you feel the school district has dealt with budgetary issues? What could be done differently?
As a current member of the school board I feel collectively the district has handled budgetary issues well. The Darlington School District continues to produce quality students despite the budgetary restraints that have been placed. What could be done differently is to encourage community involvement (ex. Attend meetings and community forums so correct information is distributed). For instance, at  our annual community meeting there has been as few as 5-10 community members present. Our 1st operational referendum we had a handful of individuals who attended the informational forums.
What recommendations do you have on how Darlington Schools can better prepare students to be successful in postgraduate endeavors?
Technology is vital in the education our students. The world around us is moving at an expediential pace when it comes to technology.  Our students need to have the tools to compete in this ever-expanding global economy. If we don’t allow our students the technology to compete we are doing them a great disservice and quite frankly we are failing as educators.
If you could improve or implement one new approach or technology what would it be? How could we fund it? Who would benefit?
I would like to see us continue with the one-student/one device that we currently have implemented in the High School. I would like to see this rolled out in the middle school as well. Funding would be provided through our current Technology budget.
What would be your approach to be the best steward of taxpayer dollars?
My approach with taxpayer dollars is to continue to use the money to provide our students the best possible educators, facilities, and technology that the taxpayer’s money can provide.  In order for the Darlington School district to continue to give the students a well-rounded quality education, I believe we are going to have to see an increased role financially by support groups and booster clubs.
What would be your philosophy in tackling new issues and addressing controversial subjects?
Encourage community involvement. (Ex. Attend annual meeting, attend monthly meetings, attend informational community forums when presented)
Donna Jean Wiegel
Occupation: Retired. Substitute teachers aide. Full time Mom.
Family background: My husband Tony. Shawn 36, Dominic 35, Mindy 33, Courtney 27, Chasity 14, 8th grade, Marissa 13, 7th  grade and Devan 12, 6th grade. Rabita from Indonesia. We have 7 grandchildren. We’ve had over 30 foster children and hosted 10 exchange students. 


Why are you running for school board?
I am running because I have a passion for our future. The future is our children. And without our teachers, we have no future. I will work hard with the funding that we have to keep the future going.
I have been on this Board before and have been attending several regular board meetings. I know what challenges we have faced and are facing. I want to make sure all the children are getting everything that they need to thrive. I was also a foster parent for 10 years, which has helped me see the needs of our youth.
What previous political experience have you had? Or any positions held?
I was seated as a parent representative for the Head Start Policy Council in October 2008 and I served on the financial committee. Also at that time I was nominated by my peers to sit on the SWCAP Board of Directors. I was on that Board for over two years.  I sat on the Darlington School Board of Education from May 2010-May 2013. While on the board I served on several different committees within the board. I served on Finance, Food Service, Trust and Agency and Technology in 2010 and 2011. Then in 2012, it was Building and Grounds, Policy Book, Scholarship, Long Range Planning and Curriculum.  I was the Vice-President of the CCW at Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Darlington in 2015. I am on the LMC committee to help with the planning of making our School District Library more efficient. I am on the youth ministry group committee for Our Lady of Fatima Parish. I am currently the Secretary for the Parish Council for Our Lady of Fatima.
What qualifications do you have for the position sought, and what do you 
feel you have to offer?
Sitting on any board has more to do with the knowledge and passion to make a difference. I want to help make the future of our schools be the best that they can possible be. I feel that with my background with managing my own business for 12 years and having the opportunity to sit on other boards has made me more aware of the responsibilities and concerns of the system in a whole.
What are the most important issues facing the Darlington School District?
Funding. The state on the whole is giving us less money every year. Our schools cannot run on looks alone. Yes our schools are great looking but for the people that are just looking at the surfaces, you are missing it all. Our schools need repairs and upkeep that the ordinary person may not see. We cannot make the most needed repairs without our communities help.
    We need to have more teachers to teach our students that are falling through the cracks. I have volunteered at the library at the middle school for several years now, and have been a sub in both schools. I see on a daily bases what is lacking in our district. Our middle and elementary school need more teachers so that they may have smaller class sizes. Some of the teachers have 20+ students without the help of an aide.  Every child is not the same. Every child’s needs are different. Our teachers are teaching to the best of their ability. They have to teach in a manner that every student learns at the same pace. That type of teaching is only hurting the students that aren’t capable of doing that. If we want our future, which are our children, then we need to do something about it.  


What vision do you have for our school district during these financially 
difficult times?
 My vision for Darlington Schools is to be the best it can be with what we have available. I would like to see our district be the district students want to come to.
How do you feel the school district has dealt with budgetary issues? What 
could be done differently?
 We have very strong leadership that will and has done everything possible to keep our expenditures down. With that said, we need to spend more money on education and what it takes to educate our children.


What recommendations do you have on how Darlington Schools can better
 prepare students to be successful in postgraduate endeavors?
My recommendations are, if a student will be going to college, have them write more papers. It is my understanding that when they get to collage, some do not have a clue how to write a paper. Also I feel that the students need to be made aware of there options early on. Maybe even at the middle school level.
If you could improve or implement one new approach or technology what would
 it be? How could we fund it? Who would benefit?
 I feel that the district is implementing everything that we can at this point.  We have computers and or IPADS in nearly every classroom. At the high school each student is assigned to their own tablet. I would like to implement BYO (bring your own) device for the high school like laptops. I feel this would be beneficial for them and their studies. I would like to see more student textbooks online.  I know for my children in the elementary/middle school alone, if they have homework and have to bring the books home, they are hunched over just to keep their balance because the books in their tote bags are very heavy. Not only is it hard on the book bag, but it is hard on there little bodies.


What would be your approach to be the best steward of taxpayer dollars?
Spend wisely. I will try to make the best judgment calls on any and all issues that pertain to our taxpayers’ money. I am a taxpayer too. I don’t want to have my taxes increase for no good reason, but when it comes to our schools I will do everything in my power to spend wisely.


What would be your philosophy in tackling new issues and addressing
 controversial subjects?
I have always and will continue to weigh all the factors. To make the best decision. You need to know all the facts. Weighing the pro’s and con’s and getting all the information there is to get is a key factor handling any issue. Keeping an open mind is also key.

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