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Brown Deer School Board voters guide

March 18, 2014

Dennis Griffin (i)

Age: 58

Employer/occupation: Systems administrator at MGIC

Education: Bachelor's in natural resources, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Contact: (414) 354-7145; griffin4bd@gmail.com

Why are you the right person for the job?

I have been actively involved with the school district for over 25 years. As a School Board member for the last nine years, including five as board president, I have the background, maturity and leadership skills necessary to continue moving the district forward.

Do you support the concept of merit pay for district teachers? Why or why not?

I support fair pay for all employees who help achieve the school district's goals; who have demonstrated the skills necessary to advance our students education; and who have shown their dedication and commitment to our schools and community. There are several compensation proposals being reviewed across the state; a few school districts have implemented new plans. The school district will complete its own review on how best to compensate its employees in the near future.

What can the district do to get parents more involved in the academic success of their children?

I believe the school district is responsible for providing a welcoming environment where parents are seen as partners in the education of their child. Parents need to be informed on what is being taught to their child and why, and what the school district's expectations are for both student and parent. I think parents who have been invited to be part of the education process and are knowledgeable in that process are more likely to be an active participant in their child's education and life.

William Weissgerber

Age: 42

Employer/occupation: Northwestern Mutual practice management consultant

Education: Bachelor's in finance from Iowa State University

Contact: (414) 355-2382; wweisgerber@gmail.com

Why are you the right person for the job?

My abilities to think strategically, develop ideas into actions, and financial background would be my keys to being an effective school board member. Also, I have two children enrolled in the Brown Deer school system (4th and 2nd grades) so I am invested in the success of the district.

Do you support the concept of merit pay for district teachers? Why or why not?

I do support the concept of pay for performance when the person measured has a direct impact on outcomes that can be defined and proven to be accurate. That being said, I have yet to see a model that works and would allow for a systematic measure of teacher performance. We need to measure teachers and reward them to be inventive in the education of their students that can be monetized in a sustainable way.

What can the district do to get parents more involved in the academic success of their children?

We need to provide more options for parents to be involved at different stages and ages of the education process. I have seen a drastic decline in the amount of parental involvement as children age and become more independent. I believe it should be the goal of the district to set a higher standard for students and parents with the end goal being that all of the students that graduate should go on to college. It is not a matter if they are going or not, it is a matter of where would you like to go.

Gary Williams (i)

Age: 63

Employer/occupation: Associate professor, director of the Institute for Intercultural Research, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Education: master's in political science, PhD in urban social institutions, UWM

Contact: (414) 371-9378

Why are you the right person for the job?

My experience as a parent of two graduates of the school district of Brown Deer, as an educator, and 15-year resident and active participant of the School Board for six years make me eminently qualified for involvement in the continued growth, development and health of this Community.

Do you support the concept of merit pay for district teachers? Why or why not?

While merit pay is currently being discussed by many as a way to reward effective teachers, I would prefer having a salary structure that more appropriately compensates our faculty for meeting clear and measurable expectations which improve the academic preparation and future success of all students.

What can the district do to get parents more involved in the academic success of their children?

First, survey our parents. Let's get abetter handle on what keeps parents and others members of this community from being more involved. Listen tothem. If they have declined before, invite them again. Share with them how much we value their engagement. Show them how they can make a difference as tutors, mentors, and coaches; as hosts of safe parties or by reading to or cooking with their kids. Offer Brown Deer parents opportunities to contribute both inside the school and outside of the school. Validate them and the critical role they play in the success of our children.

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