By Dakota Gunnare, Current Staff
Chad Tamez wants to run for school board because he feels like he is a good communicator between people who could ease some of the discord in the school district.
His biggest motivation in running for school board is to open up communication and get rid of the negativity surrounding the school board. He wants to represent people with integrity.
Tamez is a family medicine physician who owns West Bend Medical and just opened Wapi Bricks, a store dedicated to Legos, with his partner, Zach. He loves local sports teams and has done a lot of work with the Milwaukee Brewers, including being the stadium physician.
He is a product of the West Bend School District. He attended Fair Park Elementary, McLane Elementary, Badger Middle School and West High. He has two daughters, one who graduated from West last year, and one who is currently a sophomore at West. He is very proud of both of his kids and his achievements and he has had a very positive experience with his kids in the school district. He wants to ensure everyone can have that positive experience.
Tamez enjoys going to see movies, especially horror movies. He loves to spend time with his family and they get along very well. He loves the school pride and the many adults in the community who now have kids in the district, which creates a strong sense of community.
How can the district become more safe for students, both physically and mentally?
FULL TRANSCRIPT: Well, I think that there isn’t a single answer for that. I think that we need to continue to reevaluate our current protocols and then continuously get real-time feedback from the police department here in town, or other security professionals, and make sure that our physical security is taken care of. And that might include needing the right amount of finances for putting in more up-to-date safety measures, things like that. From a physical/mental standpoint, I think, mental health-wise, one of the ways we can try to improve students’ safety is really fostering a culture of empathy, so that something like social/emotional learning, for example, when used correctly, can be one of the best tools to combat bullying, for example. Emotional and physical bullying.
What is the greatest challenge the district currently faces? How will you address it?
FULL TRANSCRIPT: I think there are two challenges the district is facing right now. One is a public relations challenge, and like I said earlier, bridging that gap of this “us or them” mentality, bridging the gap of trust with the community; that we’re being good stewards of taxpayer dollars, that we’re addressing concerns that are appropriate, that we have the best interest of all students in mind, not just ones that line up with our personal belief system. So I think we need to address that and I think that we need someone who has good communication skills and who can address those issues and hopefully build trust. And I think that being a physician in the community has helped me establish a reputation of trust–I mean, I take care of people every day. They trust me with things, it’s kind of what I do.
The second thing, though, is facilities and academics and behaviors. I don’t know if the behaviors issue is–I mean obviously for some people, behavior is the paramount issue, you know? They have students who are bullied, or you know, kids who are bullied. For them it’s going to be the number one issue, and we do have to find ways to address that. For some people it’s going to be facilities or teacher communication, so it’s really not the issue that I see as the most important: I think what matters is the issues you see as most important, and people see as most important; the community. Because regardless of my personal opinion, I have to take your concern back to the board, and address that with honesty, integrity, and non-partisan, non-biased positions, and then bring you back the answers. Even if it’s not one that you’re going to like, it’s still important to validate that concern and bring it back, so I think the biggest issue is really just making sure that we have open lines of communication.
What would you prioritize in the budget that is not currently being prioritized?
FULL TRANSCRIPT: I think there’s two: facilities and mental health for students. Facilities is a big one. There’s very well-defined areas of need, so the budget right now for fixing problems that exist in the buildings already is not going to continue to be adequate, you know? We can’t just keep trying to fix the problems; at some point we’re probably going to need to build a new facility, and that solves maybe a few issues with rightsizing as student enrollment goes down. We may be able to consolidate something, but it’s also been shown through multiple different studies that students perform better in environments that they feel proud of. Behaviors improve, academics improve, and it can be something as simple as a well-laid-out building, something that offers more natural sunlight. I mean, there are a lot of things that might sound frivolous but that studies show do improve work environments for students. And so I think facilities is going to be an issue that definitely is going to be on the table in the next three years.
Read about the school board candidates at The Current. Five candidates responded to requests for interview by deadline. The school board election is April 4.
(Photo courtesy of Chad Tamez.)