NEW BERLIN — While the two New Berlin School Board incumbents running for re-election in the April 4 election point to successes the schools have had to show they are on the right track, the two challengers strongly disagree.
One of them, a recent graduate, says the district needs to dump "failed policies." The other charges that people on the outside can't see what the board is doing and are unable to engage the board in meaningful dialog.
One of the two incumbents is David Maxey, a New Berlin resident for 14 years, is in sales and has served as school board president six years. He points to the schools being able to increase their offerings and to its leadership in helping students find and prepare for their future occupations.
The other incumbent is Amy Crosby, engineering manager for Rockwell Automation, a New Berlin resident, for 18 years. She has served on the board for three years. She said only recently the district took steps to improve communication with residents by establishing Board Chat. That is a time the board will set aside periodically before regular board meetings to invite people to ask questions about district topics. The first chat was held last December.
One of the challengers is Dmitry Becker who grew up in New Berlin, graduating from high school here before going on to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and becoming a combat medic with the Wisconsin National Guard. Also mounting a challenge is Krislyn Holaday-Wondrachek, an attorney who has lived in New Berlin for 11 years.
The four candidates will vie for two seats in the April 4 spring election:
What would your top priority be on the board and how would you work toward achieving it?
David Maxey: My top priority has and will continue to be to provide the best possible education for every student and get the most for every dollar.
Amy Crosby: My top priority would be to continue to provide an excellent education for all the students in New Berlin. I believe that retention of quality teachers is a cornerstone of superior education, so I am excited about our new teacher retention plan and will encourage the enhancement of that plan.
Dmitry Becker: Reforming and creating a more efficient district for all are my top goals. I would push new policies and procedures through the board. I would also like to work with surrounding districts to create a better learning environment for our students as well as theirs.
Krislyn Holaday-Wondrachek: I would revamp communication and more honestly inform all stakeholders of what the board proposes to do. I would suspend the policy that prevents the board from answering attendees at public meetings, and hold “informal” meetings to allow full discussion of concerns.
What background, skills, outlooks do you bring to the table?
Maxey: Nine years of experience as a school board member, six as the school board president and 20 years of sales experience has taught me listening is more important than talking. I will continue to listen to teachers, students and families and diligently work to implement ideas that will improve our district.
Crosby: I have a passion for education and preparing the students in our community for success in both college and careers. My extensive community involvement, past three years on the board and career as an engineer and manager show my commitment to education.
Becker: I bring the youth perspective to the table which is one that is lacking on the board, currently. I have recent experience with the public school system as a student, which no other member has as well as being recent military, which gives me a perspective on order/discipline within the district.
Holaday-Wondrachek: I am a mother of two and practicing attorney for nearly 20 years. I believe in advocating for our community. I believe all stakeholders - taxpayers, parents, teachers and children deserve to have their voices heard and that we must maximize outcomes for all children within our limited budget.
Would you like to see new approaches taken or is the board on the right track? If so, why do you feel that way?
Maxey: I feel the school board is on the right track. We have expanded the student course offerings, and its commitment to prepare every student for college and their future careers while keeping spending in check. I will continue to partner with the community to provide students the highest quality education.
Crosby: I feel that the board is on the right track but there is always room for growth. One opportunity for the board to grow is in communication with the community. The latest Board Chat is a step in the right direction for the community and board to have productive dialog.
Becker: We must take new paths and completely reform the old paths we have been on, if not abandon them entirely. We are seeing failed policies be put to work and it isn't helping the student or district as a whole.
Holaday-Wondrachek: We need change. We must remember that our taxpayers do not have unlimited resources, and that we don’t get a “do-over” with our children. We must be honest with stakeholders about how we educate our kids in New Berlin - keep what works and fix what doesn't. We can do better.
David Maxey (inc.)
Address: 17240 W. Rogers Drive
Political history: New Berlin School Board since 2008, board president for six years; Moving New Berlin Forward, 2012 to the present; Wisconsin Educational Energy Cooperative (WE²C) 2015 to the present; Poplar Creek Elementary 6th Grade Committee
Children in school: A daughter, eighth grade at New Berlin West; son, sixth grade at Poplar Creek; daughter, third grade at Poplar Creek.
Facebook: Re-elect Dave Maxey for New Berlin School Board
Amy Crosby (inc.)
Address: 3959 S. Victoria Court
Political history: New Berlin School Board, since 2014; Home and School Board at Glen Park Elementary, 2011-2012, 6th Grade Graduation Committee head at Glen Park
Children in school: Daughter, Amanda, 16, at Eisenhower High School; son, Ben, 14, at Eisenhower Middle School; daughter, Audrey, 10, at Elmwood Elementary
Phone number: 262-814-0391
Address: 3520 S. Cari-Adam Drive
Political history: Youngest appointed commissioner in city history when appointed to Safety Saturday Committee in 2015-2016, ran for state senate in 2016 as a write-in candidate and state assembly in 2014
Children in school: No children, but brothers and a sister currently attending New Berlin West
Phone number: 262-613-5801
Address: 13725 W. Foxwood Drive
Political history: Unsuccessful bid for New Berlin School Board last year against three incumbents; president, Orchard Lane Parent Faculty Council (current), president, Delta Delta Delta Sorority Milwaukee Area Alumnae Chapter (current), treasurer of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church (former), serving 14 years
Children in school: Sophie, 9, fourth-grader at Orchard Lane Elementary; Sammy, 6, early childhood at Ronald Reagan Elementary
Phone number: 262-786-2555