March 30, 2023
By David Nordby
The Brillion News
REEDSVILLE – The Reedsville School Board has two spots open in the April 4 election. Incumbent Andrew Maertz is seeking reelection while Todd Schneider is not seeking reelection. Katie Baroun is on the ballot. Travis Grimm is a registered write-in candidate.
Andrew Maertz (incumbent)
Occupation: Master Automotive Technician and Funeral Director Apprentice
Social media or email for voters to contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Katie Baroun (challenger)
Occupation: Real Estate Appraiser at Greenstone Farm Credit Services and Owner of Baroun Family Farms LLC with her husband
Social media or email for voters to contact: Facebook - Katie Slager Baroun; email - email@example.com
Travis Grimm (registered write-in)
Occupation: Miron Construction (Carpenter Formen)
Social media or email for voters to contact: Travis.Grimm@miron-construction.com
Why are you running for school board?
Maertz: I would like to run for one more term. I have some specific things I’d like to keep working on with my fellow board members and would like to see them through. I have such a passion for public education and serving our community, I feel that I owe it to the district to run again to help our schools continue to provide a top-notch education for our kids.
Baroun: I am running for school board for the students including my own. The whole point of the school district is the students and making sure we are doing right for them and for the future generations of students.
What makes you the best candidate?
Maertz: I have 15 years of experience as a school board member, I have been on the CESA 7 board of directors for 14 years and am the current Vice President, also, I have been the WASB Region 8 Director for the past 7 years and now am the 2nd vice president of the WASB as well. I believe I bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the table as a board member. I have proven that I have a passion for public education and dedication to doing what is best for our kids.
Baroun: The best candidate should be hardworking, an active listener, and assertive. Along with these qualities I have a strong background that supports what the school board is all about. I have a farming background which has me balancing budgets when prices are good and bad. The appraisal background helps me to understand real estate tax rates and how they are calculated. Both of my careers have me working with people on a daily basis toward a common goal. We as a school board need to work together for the good of the students.
Grimm: I'd like to be considered as the best candidate because I would like to be part of the influence on the fiscal health of the district and where voter taxpayer money is spent, with quality public education for current and future students being at the forefront. Thus preserving and improving the quality of our school system. All in hand with influencing the district budget.
What do you believe are the top issues in the district that need to be addressed and how would you address them?
Maertz: One of the biggest issues facing all school districts is staff morale as well as teacher retention. We cannot provide the best education for our students without the best staff. The most important part of a school district is its staff. I believe we have a staff that is absolutely amazing. But as a board we need to do better making our staff and teachers feel valued and respected. Part of that is addressing compensation issues. The other part is improving communication between staff and the admin team.
Baroun: The top issues currently would be staff hiring and retention. Many districts are struggling with staff and Reedsville is not any different. We need to make sure we have staff in place that are working together. If the staff is happy with their current careers, they are likely to stay. We need to work with the administration making sure that we are hiring the right people and keeping the right people in place.
Grimm: Some top issues in our district I believe are technology in education, teacher salaries, and bullying. Bullying being a sad fact that gets overlooked far too often. The enhancing of the tech classes (woods electrical plumbing etc.). These are some of the issues and concerns that I would like to collaborate and brainstorm with the rest of the board members and administrators to make for a better school environment.
What is one thing you believe needs to be changed about the Reedsville School District?
Maertz: One thing that I have been trying to change for the past 15 years is the mentality in our area that the grass is greener on the other side. I would really love to see the students that are open enrolling out to other districts without ever stepping foot in one of our buildings, give Reedsville a chance. We are a school with a wonderful, and caring expert staff, and have class offerings and opportunities as good, or better than our surrounding schools.
Baroun: Recently, Reedsville has had a lot of changes and I think we need to keep moving those changes forward. We have an amazing 3K program that has potential to grow and get even better. Our school district has received a grant to expand the before/after school program and I think that will get even better. The middle school students moved to the high school building within the past few years, and I think that has been a good change and we need to continue to support this change. With these big changes taking place we need to focus on refining these changes rather than taking on any other major changes in the immediate future.
Grimm: I'd like to not some much change things about our district but more so enhance it. Some of which mentioned above. Create a culture that incoming families fishing for the right school may look twice at Reedsville considering it to be the right fit for their family.