Three to vie for two School Board seats

by Jeff Pederson Sheboygan Falls News Editor

JAMI SHIRCEL JAMI SHIRCEL Since moving to Sheboygan Falls, seven months ago Jami Shircel has been impressed with what she has seen.

So much so that she is eager to lend a hand in helping the Sheboygan Falls School District maintain its standing on the leading edge of educational achievement.

Shircel is one of three candidates vying for two available seats on the Sheboygan Falls School Board during the April 7 spring election.

The Sheboygan native moved to Sheboygan Falls with her husband, Andrew, and sons Tobey, 7, and Maxwell, 5, last August due in large part to the quality of Sheboygan Falls School District.

“I have been very pleased with the historic test scores of the district,” Shircel said. “The performance of the school district was one of the main reasons for my family moving to Sheboygan Falls in 2014.

“I would like to be involved in keeping the scores high and improving the scores so that all of our schools exceed expectations,” shesaid.“Ihavea5yearoldand a 7 year old that will be coming through the schools in the next several years, so I have a major interest in maintaining the best education possible in our district.”

The Sheboygan South High School graduate believes upgrading the aging middle school should remain as a top focus for the district in the coming years.

“I think the middle school situation needs to be addressed,” Shircel said. “The longer we wait to address the issue, the more the project will cost. The need to upgrade the middle school is not something that is going to go away. Something needs to be done.

“Security improvements have been made to both the elementary school and high school, but not at the middle school, which is a concern for me,” she said. “The board has taken the right approach by taking steps to pay off the elementary school early, so hopefully that will help in easing the tax burden for the public the next time a referendum is presented.”

Shircel, who has worked at Kohler Co. for the past 11 years as a consumer technology senior systems analyst, says the board must get creative in addressing budget limitations, while maintaining a high standard of educational services.

“I don’t feel the proposed funding limitations are something that the district has much control over,” Shircel said. “I feel the School Board will need to adjust if state funding is limited.

“If the state budget is passed as it stands, I would look for areas that could be temporarily decreased, which would not have a direct negative impact on the learning environments of students,” she said. “The board has offered early retirement packages, which has freed up some money. We may have to look over the budget with a magnifying glass to see if there are other things we could do to save. I do feel strongly that teachers are incredibly valuable and I would steer away from cutting positions. We have a lot of very good newer and older teachers and I would not want to do anything to hurt their standing and the value they bring to the district.”

Shircel, who holds a bachelor’s degree in organizational administration and communications from the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee, feels the board should continue to seek strategic connections within the local business community to enhance educational opportunities and future connections to careers.

“We should continue to look for new, innovative ways to teach and bring technology into the classroom,” Shircel said. “We should work on partnership with local businesses and technical colleges to better prepare our students for the future.

“I have been encouraged by the partnership the district has formed with Bemis and I would like to see more of that in the future,” she said. “I also like the way the district has promoted the value of STEM and other similar programs in today’s high-tech world. We need to do all we can to better prepare our student for the technology they will encounter on the modern workplace.”

Shircel has also been impressed by the School Board’s efforts to connect to the community and provide opportunity for public input.

“I think the Community Conversations the board has been doing are a good idea,” Shircel said. “It makes the board more transparent with parents and the community as a whole, which is a very good thing.

“I feel that community members may be more willing to speak up and share their views at an open forum like this,” she said. “The more open and available the School Board can be, the better.”

Shircel believes her intense focus on the importance of education and strong interest in the future success of the district make her a strong candidate for a seat on the School Board.

“Sheboygan Falls is a really neat community and I am glad that we decided to move here,” Shircel said. “With young kids in the district, I have a vested interest in helping our children get the best education possible.

“I have heard nothing but good things about the district and now living here I have been able to see firsthand all the good things going on,” she said. “Now the goal is to keep moving forward into the 21st century.”

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