The past two days have been a bit surreal. The final vote totals are still not reported for my school board race but based on the remaining number of possible votes, I have been declared a winner. I know it is a cliché, but I would have been a winner on Tuesday regardless of the vote totals. I have learned a lot about our district in the past four months. I have met a lot of great educators, administrators, and parents. I have found out more about our community’s service organizations. So I have enriched my life whether I had won the election or not. I would have been disappointed, but I am confident my commitment to staying involved in education in our community would have remained regardless of outcome.
Tuesday night when the totals first started to come in, it was hard to believe that over 2300 people would vote for me to represent them on the Verona Area school board. It is hard not to be humbled, excited, uplifted, and also scared. I had a lot of people say that “the election is the hard part”, after that it is “easy”. Pardon me if I do not fully subscribe to that line of thought. To do this job right it is going to take a lot of work and effort and I look forward to that. Seeing the issues that many communities have across the state regarding education, I feel fortunate to have this opportunity and I promise to do my best to make sure we do what is best for all students.
On my way to work today I spoke to a good friend about the election. He said that while congrats are in order, he may also choose to offer condolences. He asked how soon my phone would be ringing with people asking questions or demanding things. I told him, that the phone ringing would be welcoming to me as I want to hear from people. I want to have conversations with folks whether easy or difficult ones. I made a commitment to engage people in the district and I plan to honor that commitment. I am excited about the opportunity that lies ahead of me and I am thankful for those that have supported me and helped me get to this point. However, the journey isn’t ending; it is merely moving on to its next phase. Those that helped me to an election victory, I am going to ask that you stay plugged in to what is happening in our district. I am going to ask that you continue to serve as sounding boards and means for me to obtain feedback about what we are doing as a district. I am going to ask that you continue to be a resource for me. I couldn’t have gotten here without their help and support and for that I will be forever thankful.
There are many people that I need to thank for their efforts. I want to thank my neighbor Holly Benzine for her photographic talent and working with me and the kids to create a nice picture that we could use for my marketing. I need to thank my brother-in-law, Dan Racette, for helping me with the lit card layout, and putting it into a working format. I also need to thank my cousin Cheryl Anthony, who despite living in Palo Alto, CA, provided some initial logo design work. I also need to thank another neighbor, Tami Schroeder for helping to distribute my campaign literature and for being so positive and supportive. I need to thank Paul and Denise Beckfield for writing a great letter to the editor of the Wisconsin State Journal and showing their support. I also owe Jana Schroeer and Chris Hannemann a lot of thanks as they helped provide feedback to me as a candidate and also helped drop lit for me within the Verona community. Pat McPartland and Carol White were both helpful in walking with me and really inspiring me to get out on doors one of the first weeks I lit dropped. Their support and encouragement that first weekend really helped me in the following weeks to stay out and get to many houses in the community. I owe a lot to Laurie Lodholz and her family for hosting a very insightful meet and greet at her home in Fitchburg. Fitchburg provides a lot of students and support to the Verona Area schools and I want to continue to make connections in Fitchburg to stay tuned into their concerns regarding our schools. There were many others who were generous and donated to my campaign and for that I will be forever thankful. Erika Hotchkiss, our new county supervisor also deserves a ton of credit and thanks. She inspired a lot of people in our community to get involved and make a difference. I enjoyed getting to know her over the past few months and I appreciate any help she provided during the campaign. I am confident she will represent us well on the county board. Finally, I need to thank my family. I should say my extended family which is composed of neighbors and friends, my wife and kids, my parents, and my aunts, uncles, and in-laws have all been very supportive and that has been greatly appreciated.
Now we start a new chapter. I will continue to blog about things school related and I hope you will continue to follow my writing. If you ever have questions or concerns about the district, please let me know and I will be happy to talk by phone, in person, etc. I take this responsibility seriously and am excited for what lies ahead.