Decision 2020: Board Candidates on Their Experience with the District

What has been your experience with the West Bend School District?


Tonnie Schmidt (incumbent)

As a school board, we removed an inexperienced and toxic superintendent and conducted a thorough search for a new superintendent, which included input from the community, resulting in hiring a nationally recognized superintendent who has brought stability to our district.

I have also brought WBSD’s Project SEARCH into Delta Defense to give real-life job skill opportunities to kids who might otherwise have trouble finding employment. Education changed my parents’ lives, and therefore my life. It, along with a person’s spirituality, are the only things a bad economy or crisis can’t take away. Children can’t control what circumstances they were born into, but education can give them an opportunity to seize their own destiny.

Joel Ongert (incumbent)

My experience with the district started when my two children began school at Decorah Elementary. We moved to the other side of town a couple of years ago, so now I have a child at McLane and Silverbrook. I’ve told this to people several times before: We haven’t had a bad teacher yet, and I don’t think we ever will! As a school board member, you see firsthand how incredibly talented our teachers, support staff and administrators are. You see how lucky we are in West Bend to be able to offer band, choir, orchestra and foreign language in fifth grade. We have far more AP classes and CTE classes than any other district around us. Many of our college-bound students are leaving our district having already earned college credits. Our technical trades students are finding competitive paying jobs right out of a two-year technical college or sometimes even right out of high school. I am proud of our school district and that’s because I am proud of what our students are able to accomplish and achieve when they graduate.

Nancy Justman (incumbent)

I did not attend the West Bend School District as a student. My husband and I decided to move to West Bend to allow our children to have a wider variety of educational experiences than what we had as students in our home towns. My daughters have all attended McLane, Silverbrook, Badger and now West Bend West. I have had the awesome opportunity of being a volunteer on several levels, a PTO parent and now a school board member. I enjoy this district and believe we are making decisions that make us stronger and will benefit us in the future. I want West Bend to be THE district in the area and in the state and I know we can get there, together with the board, staff, leadership, students, families and the community.

Jody Geenen

My experience with the West Bend School District mostly encompasses having three daughters go through and graduate from the West Bend School District along with being a taxpayer. I love kids and want them to receive a well-rounded, truth-and-fact-based education; I appreciate good teachers and administrators; and I am proud of being part of a community that provides volunteer and job-shadow opportunities to our students as well as scholarships for tech schools and college.

Interviews by Current reporters Megan Landvatter and Noelle Mentch. Responses are listed in the order that the candidates will appear on the April 7 ballot.

Read more about the candidates at The Current, including their reasons for running, unique goals and thoughts on another referendum.

1 Comment

Filed under Community, School News and Features

One response to “Decision 2020: Board Candidates on Their Experience with the District

  1. John

    Very disappointed in Ms. Schmidt’s unprofessional comments about former Supt. Erik Olson, especially since she was asked about her experience with the District. She also didn’t give credit to the district staff member in charge of the Project SEARCH program, who brought SEARCH to West Bend Mutual and St. Joseph’s Hospital.

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