SENECA - On Tuesday, April 5, voters in the Seneca School Board election will have four choices to fill three open seats on the board.
Eric Grimsled wants changes in the Seneca School District, so he’s running for one of the three open school board seats in the upcoming election.
Grimsled is a 49-year-old farmer, who raises beef. He lives with his wife Janelle and two children, a 14-year-old boy and a 12-year-old girl, at 18450 State Highway 27 Gays Mills.
Grimsled graduated from Seneca High School. He also received a degree from Southwest Tech after completing a one-year machinist program.
Grimsled is a member of the Mount Sterling Lutheran Church. He is also a former Seneca firefighter and EMT.
In addition to raising beef cattle, Grimsled also runs a dozing company. He previously spent 15 to 18 years doing road construction.
The local farmer is running for the school board because he doesn’t like the way the board and administrator are running things.
“The board should be running the administrator, not the administrator running the board,” Grimsled said. “They should listen to the public. Nobody on the board has a spine.”
Grimsled believes declining enrollment is the biggest issue facing the district.
“The biggest issue is 40 percent of the students are homeschooled. There’s only 67 students in the school and that’s not enough to keep it going.”*
Grimsled believes the district needs to meet with the homeschool parents and try and get the students back in the school.
“We need the kids,” Grimsled said.
The candidate also believes the board needs to hold the administrator responsible for his actions.
“We need a leadership change,” Grimsled said. “The first thing that needs to be addressed is the administrator. There’s a lot of dead weight working there. Fifteen of his family work there.”*
Grimsled needed to add one more point.“We are dumb enough to leave windows open in every classroom with a fan blowing hat air out all winter,” Grimsled said. “That’s a waste of taxpayer money.”
• Editor’s note: The Seneca Area School District has a current in-school enrollment of 250 with 97 in the high school; 52 in the middle school and 101 in the elementary school. There are also 43 home-schooled children in the district-about 15 percent of the total. Seneca School District administrator David Boland is probably related to six other employees of the district.
Shawn Lenzendorf was appointed with Crisse Reynolds to fill out the terms of board member Larry Kelley, who died, and Chad Sime, who resigned.
Shawn lives with his wife Sonya and three daughters (fourth grade, eighth grade and a high school junior) at 20480 State Highway 27 in Gays Mills.
Lenzendorf, 39, graduated from Seneca High School and attended Southwest Tech where he received an Associate Degree in Law Enforcement.
Lenzendorf is currently employed as a Crawford County Traffic Deputy. It’s a position that he has held for the past 10 years.
Previously, he worked as a dairy farmer, and continues to raise beef on a part-time basis.
Lenzendorf also serves as a supervisor on the Seneca Town Board. He also volunteers as a Seneca First Responder and as a Seneca firefighter.
Lenzendorf said he serves on the school board because he has a vested interest with three children attending the school, and being an alumni himself.
The incumbent school board member, who has lots of experience serving on the school board, feels the biggest issue facing the district at this moment is politics. He feels that issues that surfaced during the COVID pandemic caused people to draw lines for one side or another around issues like masking and other COVID responses.
The long-serving board member prides himself on being in the middle on most issues.
“I run right on the middle,” Lenzendorf explained. ”I listen to both sides to make a decision that I feel best suits the needs of the children. And, not everyone agrees with me. That’s how it goes.
“If I get elected, I’m not going on the board with an agenda,” Lenzendorf said. “I’ll just be ready to deal with whatever comes up. Twelve years ago, when I was first elected I was ready to set the world afire. Then, you find out what you can do and what you can’t do.“So, I have no agenda at this time. I will look at what comes up and try to do what’s best for the kids.”
Another board member with lots of experience, who is running in this election, is Christine ‘Crisse’ Reynolds. She was first elected to the school board in 2007.
After serving a couple of terms, Reynolds stepped aside to let others have a chance to serve on the board. She has recently rejoined the board along with Shawn Lenzendorf to fill two vacant seats.
Crisse, 53, and her husband Brian have five adult children including two sons, who graduated from Seneca High School in 2012 and 2014.
The youngest boy, Christopher, lives in Ferryville and works at the Trane Company. Crisse pointed out that her son got the job in part because he learned how to weld in Seneca’s ag education program, Christopher also went on to take classes at Southwest Tech.
Crisse Reynolds graduated from Franklin High School in suburban Milwaukee. She went on to graduate from Mt. Senario College in Ladysmith, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Administration.
Reynolds keeps herself busy with a bunch of commitments. She serves as an EMR for Seneca First Responders and is also a member of the Seneca Fire Department.
Currently, Reynolds serves as the Humane Officer for the Crawford County Sheriff’s Department.
Previously, Reynolds served 15 years in law enforcement, working for the City of Milwaukee and the State of Wisconsin. She rose to the rank of Sergeant Investigator with the Milwaukee Police Department.
“I’m running because of my ongoing interest in education, and the fact that I know how important to a successful community it is to have access to good education,” the school board candidate said.
Reynolds’ personal experience is wide and deep. She has been involved in home schooling, as well as charter schools and specialty schools, while she lived in Milwaukee. Moving to Seneca, she enrolled her children in the public school.
Reynolds came back from the state education convention in January filled with energy and some new ideas. She believes Seneca does a good job with its ag and business programs, as well as offering youth options for college courses.
At the convention, Reynolds learned what other districts are doing to increase their STEAM (Science Technology, Engineering, Art & Math) programs.
“We need to offer more advanced labs to our students. We need to increase our machining and computer programming offerings,” Reynolds said. “Other districts around the state have worked with local businesses that can help in these efforts.”
Reynolds also gave a shout out to the Seneca Education Foundation for its support of the school. She noted the foundation supported making Seneca’s school a CPR training site through Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin.
Reynolds wants to work on building the school district’s teacher pool by transitioning people with college degrees into classroom teachers, especially focusing on STEAM courses.
Reynolds also believes the school board must address the aging building as it looks to the future.
The school board member sees a need for the district to continue building on opportunities offering distance learning and youth options.“We need to be finding many more opportunities for the kids and we can get there by working with local businesses,” Reynolds said.
Adam Green is a candidate with a pretty heavy educational resume, who is running for the Seneca School Board for the first time.
Green, 35, lives with his wife Tiffany and four sons (aged two, four, seven and nine) at 11575 Hegedahl Road. The older boys are Seneca students.
Green grew up in Boscobel, where he had some success in athletics, particularly cross country.
After graduating from Boscobel High School, Green went on to study at UW-LaCrosse, where he received Bachelor of Science in Physics, and UW-Platteville, where he received a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering.
Adam Green is currently employed as Performance Engineer at Dairyland Power. He began his career at Dairyland as a Mechanical Engineer from 2008 to 2010. Then, he worked for Alliant Energy from 2010 to 2017, before returning to Dairyland.
While in college, Green worked at Milk Specialties in Boscobel and at the Boscobel Hotel.
Green is a member of the Southwest Prairie Lutheran Church and enjoys woodworking when he has the time.
Why is Adam Green running for the Seneca School Board?
“As the father of four, with three attending Seneca Schools, I have a vested interest in making sure they’re getting a good education,” Green said.
The Boscobel native likes Seneca’s small, tight-knit community.
“I want to keep the heritage of the Seneca School District,” Green explained. “I think we need to have more intense long-term labs and have more college courses offered. We need to make the school the best it can be.”
Green does not single out any huge major issues facing the district, but noted “the COVID stuff” drew him into running for the board.
“There’s stress between the board and community and it’s brutal,” Green said. “Brutal is the right word for it.”
Green thinks the board felt a responsibility to act and did what they did at the time as a reaction to COVID.
“If it happens in the future, the board should focus on running the school and keeping the students well educated, and the parents should be allowed to make decisions that are right for them,” Green said.
Green recognizes a very deep division has developed over this issue and people don’t talk to each other because of it.
“It’s a very toxic time,” Green said. “However, the past is the past, we need a plan for what to do if it happens again. We need to make it work better for both the school and the parents.”
Green believes it will be necessary for the district to make the school more attractive to future employees.
“More pay will attract better talent,” Green said. “We need to make the school more attractive to be able to pull in more highly skilled individuals.
“I’m realizing, while I feel a certain way, I have been outspoken,” Green acknowledged. “It’s time to put opinions aside and listen to the community. I’m there to represent the community.”