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Spring Election: Brillion School Board

March 30, 2023

By David Nordby

The Brillion News

BRILLION – The Brillion School Board will have one of its most contested races in recent years during next week’s spring election. Voters will see six names – three incumbents and three challengers – on their ballots on April 4.

The candidates

Chris Hoyer (incumbent)

Age: 43

Occupation: Construction Expeditor

Social media or email for voters to contact:

Holly Thurow-Riahi (incumbent)

Age: 56

Occupation: Special Education Teacher

Social media or email for voters to contact:

Rhonda Vande Hey (incumbent)

Age: N/A

Occupation: Loan Specialist with United States Department of Agriculture

Social media or email for voters to contact: N/A

John Holzschuh (challenger)

Age: 74

Occupation: Retired

Social media or email for voters to contact:

Timothy Pope (challenger)

Age: 53

Occupation: Telecommunications

Social media or email for voters to contact:

Karen Mueller (challenger)

Did not respond to the newspaper’s questionnaire

Why are you running for school board?

Hoyer: As a current member of the school board, I want to see that all students are represented well and given maximum opportunities. Also keeping the schools’ best interest in mind in spending for needs and not wants.

Vande Hey: I’ve been raised in a family who values giving back. Being a member on the school board gives me an opportunity to give back to my community in the form of education, opportunity and support.

Thurow-Riahi: Education is my passion and life’s work. I started as a paraprofessional, working as teacher while attending college to earn my degree. I love what I do, it is who I am. My work on the board reflects my dedication to the field of education. I enjoy being part of the Brillion School Board and hope you trust me with your vote to continue my service.

Holzschuh: I want to focus on allowing parents to be involved with their children's education, including what type of curriculum their children are being taught.

Pope: I am running for school board because I want to preserve the small-town atmosphere and sense of community that we have here in Brillion. I don't believe that following the lead of other larger school districts would be a good thing, necessarily.

What makes you the best candidate?

Hoyer: I currently have a child in high school and middle school as well as younger extended family that attend Brillion Elementary and care about their future.

Vande Hey: I believe I am the best candidate for several points. As an incumbent I have the knowledge. It takes time to learn the workings of the district. I have knowledge of policy, funding, personnel, etc. I am also a graduate of the Brillion Public School District and currently have children attending. I can make decisions. As a Board member we need to review data, discuss as a team and ultimately make a decision to best serve our School District. Along with making decisions, I strive to be open and objective. I want to hear the whole story and what the impact may be before making those decisions. Supportive of our students and staff. I have been a supporter of positions like the Math Interventionist, Stem Specialist, and At-Risk Interventionist. Positions like these are taking what we have and making it better for our student’s education.

Thurow-Riahi: There is much to understand in running a school district. I invested a lot of time and energy learning all I could to be an informed board member. I have attended state and national conferences, legislative updates, and trainings. I have served on the policy and resolution committee at the state level. I presently represent Brillion on the CESA 7 Board of Control. My votes as a board member show my unwavering support of the students through expanding extracurricular activities, addressing safety concerns, adding necessary staff, developing academic programs and maintaining our facilities. I have dedicated 20 years of serve to the community through my board work, it is a commitment I take pride in.

Holzschuh: There are a number of good candidates running. However I believe that my business acumen will serve the school board well.

Pope: I would not claim to be the best candidate. I can only tell the voters what my thoughts are, and if they agree with me, I would certainly be appreciative of their vote.

What do you believe are the top issues in the district that need to be addressed and how would you address them?