The upcoming Hillsboro School Board Election in April will feature an actual race with three candidates seeking two available seats, somewhat of a change from recent history.
As a result, the Sentry-Enterprise will publish interviews with each candidate in the next couple of weeks, beginning with incumbent Board Member Mike Jirschele.
Mike, who was appointed to his current position which had been vacated, was born and raised in Hillsboro.
Athletics played a major role in his prep days. Tiger sports fans still remember his many years as a key member of highly successful basketball, baseball, and cross-country teams, along with his twin brother, Mark.
Ironically, knee injuries ended the competitive careers of both brothers, who were forced to hang up their uniforms and, eventually, become sales representatives for printing and promotional items after graduating from Winona State University.
They now operate a local family business with their father, Charley.
Mike has been married for five years to Erin, a sixth grade teacher with the Hillsboro School District. The couple has a four-year-old son named Braun, who just has to be a big-time Brewers fan with a name like that. He is currently in the 4K school program.
Another son, eight-month-old Jameson, has yet to realize how likely a Tiger uniform is to play a role in his future.
His Dad’s basketball career became history with that serious knee injury, an outcome that was shared by his uncle. As a result the twins found a way to stay involved in basketball by becoming referees for school games and the annual Alumni Basketball Tournament.
Lately, they have been active in the Knights of Columbus program, assisting in the popular Pass, Punt, and Kick tournaments.
Mike pointed out that he has spent his first months on the School Board just learning all the ins and outs of judgments that have to be made on a regular basis. “It’s a lot more involved for Board members than many people realize,” he pointed out.
One thing he has developed in that time is a major respect for both the Hillsboro School District faculty and administration.
“There are plenty of positive aspects and not many negatives in the district,” he said, “and I don’t think the staff, administration and School Board always get the credit they deserve. There’s not many negatives that I’ve seen except for some of the financial problems that can’t be easily solved.”
Mike has been highly impressed with the advent of modern technology being used in the school every day. He mentioned some of the great tech advances in the classroom that can prove to be both a challenge and an eventual benefit for the students and teachers alike. “I’m very pleased with what is happening in that area,” he said.
Another new development that has opened many eyes in the educational field are the Common Core State Standards that are being adopted by all schools.
“They will lead to a different approach to education,” Mike stated, “but I really think it will be a positive thing for both staff and students.
At the last School Board meeting, a group of teachers offered an in-depth review of the new program. The enlightening report also served as a “dress rehearsal” for a special presentation at the Wisconsin School Board Association at its convention in Milwaukee.
Erin, one of the teachers who presented the report, is very high on the future of the program and sees many benefits based on set skills. “Teachers won’t just open a textbook,” she told Mike. “It’s going to be a real good thing, if used in the right way.”
Looking ahead, Mike approves of the major energy improvements being completed on the school buildings and grounds in an effort to keep the facility up to par.
Mike’s decision to accept an appointment to the School Board and then run for election as an incumbent came after much introspection and some encouragement from his family.
“I know I have learned things about making decisions while being a partner in a business, and there are similarities to sitting on the School Board,” he explained. “This town has been very good to me, and I see it as a way of giving back!”