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Candidate Q&A: Barneveld School Board
ELECTION 2021 | BARNEVELD SCHOOL BOARD

Candidate Q&A: Barneveld School Board

Wisconsin State Journal (copy)

Two candidates are vying to represent the village of Barneveld on the Barneveld School Board in the April 6 election. The term is for three years.

Denise Douglas

Age: 49

Address: 117 Victoria Lane, Barneveld

Family: Widowed with daughter in fifth grade

Job: Staff accountant at the Gallina Companies.

Prior elected office: No response

Other public service: No response

Education: Bachelor’s degree in accounting, UW-Platteville; bachelor’s degree in elementary education/math, UW-Platteville

Email or website: No response

Derek J. Schmitz

Age: 45

Address: 602 Highway ID, Barneveld

Family: Married with two daughters

Job: Self-employed flooring installer

Prior elected office: None

Other public service: Volunteer youth softball coach for the past 12 years; helped organize the On Deck Club, which supports Barneveld Eagle softball

Education: Graduated from Mount Horeb High School in 1993, went into trades after graduation

Email or website: No response

Q&A

Why should voters elect you and not your opponent?

Douglas: I want to be an active participant in my daughter’s and community’s education — to accomplish this effectively it truly takes a team approach — everyone (teachers, parents, students, community members) working together to get the job done — I’m ready to be this team player.

Schmitz: I have a well-rounded background in the happenings of the school district through the involvement of my daughters in academics and co-curricular activities, as well as being involved with the youth groups for many years. Several years ago, a friend asked me to attend a meeting. I joined him at the next meeting and have hardly missed a meeting since.

What’s the most important issue in this election and how

would you address it?

Douglas: The most important issue in this election is how the pandemic has affected our schools. Lots of kids have fallen behind and mental health is a big concern. To address this issue we must ensure that the decisions made are positive for the students and we provide for them the tools they need to be successful.

Schmitz: Mental health. Getting children back to a normal routine should be our main focus. This can be achieved by providing training for staff as well as providing forums to parents and community members to educate on how to recognize students dealing with mental health, as well as teaching coping strategies. The achievement gap is also on the top of the list.

What new strategy would you pursue to close your district’s achievement gap?

Douglas: Close cooperation between schools, parents and community is one of the keys to closing the achievement gaps. Educating parents and the community on how they can help the kids and the teachers would have a strong and direct impact on student achievement. Takes all of us working together — parents, teachers and community.

Schmitz: A district standardized assessment is beneficial to determine students who have not made academic growth. This data would help determine which students would benefit from attending summer school, participate in an intervention, or enroll in after-school programs. These programs cost money, which would come from creating a budget to include programs that align with the district’s strategic plan.

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