Ken Schmidt is one of four candidates running for two school board seats in the coming April 5 election.
Schmidt was raised in Beaver Dam, and attended several colleges to receive degrees in both social work and divinity. He has lived in West Bend since 1979 and currently works at Community Care as a behavioral health specialist.
Although his now adult children all attended private schools, Schmidt says he has a “distinct interest” in public education, and wants all students in the district to receive an education equal or better than a private education. Schmidt also said he worries about the nation as a whole, and believes “a well-educated citizenry makes for a good nation.”
Through attending school board meetings, Schmidt says he has many concerns regarding curriculum and Common Core. He also sees work to be done regarding recently dropping reading and math scores in the district. Schmidt wants the district to be transparent, practice good stewardship, and foster open communication among teachers, administration, students, and the board.
Each of the candidates were asked three specific questions that target common concerns among students at the high schools. Below is a summary of Schmidt’s responses.
What are your thoughts about the teacher turnover rate and what do you see as a possible solution?
Schmidt believes that the district’s turnover rate is comparable to those of other industries, and does not see it as the most pressing issue. Still, he thinks it’s important to retain teachers and that the best way to do that is to boost morale and keep communication open. Schmidt wants to focus on the all the positives that teachers bring to the district and what is currently being offered to them.
How would you like to see the positions of superintendent and head principal filled?
Foremost, Schmidt wants the incoming superintendent to have a strong background in curriculum, given the recent drop in scores. He also hopes to find someone who has a “wide breadth” of experience and new ideas. Schmidt is glad a national search is being conducted for superintendent and thinks the same should be considered for head principal.
How would you like to address policy change in the coming years?
Schmidt again would like to focus more on the positive occurrences in the district, and points toward the numerous students recognized at board meetings for their accomplishments as an example. He says West Bend should support those who bring about these accomplishments and also look to other districts for new ideas. Schmidt also talked about the need to fully evaluate new curriculum before implementing it.