Chris Schultz

Chris Schultz
Chris Schultz


Residence: Brule

If elected, what are the top three things you would focus on as a school board member?

  • Supporting administrative, staff, and community efforts to recognized exceptional student achievement, behavior and attendance.

  • Supporting administrative and community efforts to recognize exceptional teaching, coaching, and advising.

  • Supporting administrative and staff efforts to seek new revenue resources and target those funds for greatest impact on developing excellent teaching and learning.

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What do you think is the most important issue facing the district, short term?

Developing exceptional student performance in all aspects of required learning: Most students need more time on task, with access to capable community and staff learning support. While some of our students have the privilege of engaged parents who ensure they strive to exceed school expectations, many do not. We need to ensure that every student is observed, assessed and guided with a focus on maximizing his/her own personal capacity for excellence. Mindful that current data indicates most Americans work at 50% of their capacity or lower, even small increases in focused effort can pay huge dividends in student learning and achievement. Few students are incapable of achieving state-mandated minimums, yet they do so with regularity.

Most students are capable of performing far above the levels they presently do, yet many do not have the guidance, direction, and support necessary to find such excellence. We can make this happen for every student.

What do you think is the most important issue facing the district, long term?

Developing exceptional student performance in creative, exciting, self-selected learning opportunities: Developing active, product-focused Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM) programs at all levels is critical for turning student interest into meaningful avenues for lifelong success. Training and apprenticeships in vocational education, arts, and/or skilled advanced studies can be introduced to motivated students in our schools. Certified plumbers in our area, for example, often earn in excess of 100,000 per year, but many local plumbing companies cannot find interested workers willing to become experts in the field; quality business partnerships and school programs can lead students to such opportunities. Clubs and classes that integrate community expertise with student learning can lead to unique skills, achievements, and scholarships for post-high school studies.

Existing programs such as the district’s robotics team might provide a starting point for expanding to exciting avenues in STEAM. Solar car clubs, aerospace/aviation programs, foreign language immersion camps, after school /summer arts programs, and other areas of interest can transform required student learning into exciting applied foundations for future jobs in engineering, computer science, songwriting, advertising, skilled trades, etc. Science, technology and/or arts magnet schools and programs can provide the concentration and depth of learning that feed student enthusiasm and engagement.

Funding can come from private and government grants, business partnerships, and from increased student enrollment as children from neighboring districts come to Maple School District for opportunities they cannot find elsewhere. Creative discussions, active engagement, and focus on excellence can make Maple a model for other districts.

A board member’s job is to recognize the real possibilities of such programs and ensure that fiscal and personnel support are brought to bear when administration and staff propose these plans.

What is something the current board is doing that you would like to see continue?

Partnerships with businesses and municipalities: I love that the district has partnered with Essentia Health for developing and maintaining its community health center. Having such superior equipment and access to certified physical therapists is a fantastic asset for the community and district. It provides a model for what what the district can do in many areas,. Some examples might be a) organizing a community arts program that provides regularly scheduled shows and performances in the Patricia Luostari Auditorium and b) coordinating night classes for college credit as well as non-credit community education that utilize community experts, teaching staff, administrators and technical college instructors. If a new aviation club started, it should seek a partnership with Cirrus. If the district needed to put in a new parking lot, it should seek machines and blacktop materials through the towns and county, offering to trade district space for workshops and events. The potential here is only limited by our imagination and willingness to work for solutions.

Is there anything the current board is doing that you would consider changing?

Without participating with committed fellow board members in the day-to-day work of supporting excellence in all facets of the district, it would be unreasonable to pretend clarity on what is or is not in need of attention. It is easy to have an opinion when not tasked with the responsibility. I believe that focus for positive change would come from my interaction and engagement with board members, administration, staff and community. In my experience, it is rare that boards and leadership teams easily see the potential their districts have for becoming a model for all others. Accepting the responsibility for leadership and pursuing creative, vision-based discussions are necessary to form the knowledge and understanding necessary for supporting positive change. In short, I wouldn’t consider supporting any change until I had the benefit from input, feedback, discussion, and determination of purpose.

Why did you decide to run for the seat?

My parents moved to Brule in 1997. My sister moved there a few years later. After a decade teaching math, one year of physical education, and one year of humanities, I began my administrative work as an associate principal. I lived in Lake Nebagamon in 2002 while completing my coursework in School Business Administration at UW-Superior. I then accepted my first principal position in Arizona. After six years, I became district director of operations and three years later a school superintendent. After five years as a superintendent and three decades in education, I moved to Brule permanently in 2017.

I enjoyed working eight years as a member of a school booster organization, three years on a town collaborative coalition, and two years on a town business development group. I helped develop cooperative agreements between school districts, cities, townships, and counties, saving significant tax dollars by sharing resources. Working with my boards and energy savings companies, we designed and implemented multi-million dollar facilities upgrades, energy savings projects, solar power plants, and ground source HVAC systems for our districts. Interest-free government bonds, record low-interest school district bonds, and municipal partnerships massively reduced costs for these projects and relieved taxpayer burdens. The solar power project provides up to 90% of district energy needs while guaranteeing a 2 cent-per-kilowatt cost for 30 years.

My primary focus as a district leader has always been to improve teaching and learning while significantly improving teacher compensation and reducing operational costs through effective fiscal management. Staff-valued development and workshops, improved student management systems, raised academic expectations, meaningful student recognition programs, and reducing fiscal waste are all critical in taking a school district from good to great.

I have enjoyed teaching educator workshops in longitudinal assessment, questioning strategies, classroom management, grants acquisition, and essential elements of instruction. I have also enjoyed the positive and tangible results of supporting meaningful professional staff development from the finest teacher educators in America. While ensuring the most competitive pay scales can serve to attract and retain new teachers, being truly valued and supported is what makes the best teachers commit to the district permanently.

What strengths would you bring to the board?

I believe my background in education can be a resource the School District of Maple. It is said that school boards discuss what they know. We once passed a 2.5 million energy savings project in twenty minutes of board discussion following six months of administrative work on the project. After that, there was a 60-minute board discussion about the wisdom of allowing the baseball team to purchase new ball caps. Time should be spent on the issues that belong on the board level; the rest should be left to the administrators and staff.

I once watched a board expel a student against my recommendation. The student had brought a pocket knife to school to show a friend; it was a Christmas gift. Shortly thereafter, I watched the board allow a student dealing drugs to serve a short suspension and return to school. The difference in these two situations is that the first student had no advocates and the second student had many. We should make decisions based on merit and justice, not perceived approval.

None of this has anything to do with the school board for School District of Maple, but I share this to offer insight as to the difficult tasks facing boards and the benefit a board might have to include an experienced educator. I would like to offer my knowledge and experience in assisting the community, board, and administration as they work through the most difficult issues that face them.

I believe I can support creative fiscal efficiency ideas to drastically reduce costs while freeing up funds to make Maple the best-compensated staff in northern Wisconsin. I believe I can work with sincere, honest fellow board members in making the difficult decisions that confront them.

How do you feel the district has handled the COVID-19 pandemic?

I don’t believe anyone has had the necessary, reliable, consistent, sufficient information to handle the COVID-19 pandemic well. There were too many political pressures and not enough clear, explicit data for making effective decisions on any level. I do; however, believe that decisions must be consistent and based on stated values and purpose. I remain concerned about the safety for the students and for the staff.

I am concerned about teachers who work 50 to 60 hours a week developing and implementing face-to-face instruction and then have to come up with completely different instruction for on-line learners. To do a quality job in both would require a complete commitment of time and energy. I was considered a highly motivated and engaged teacher. If the success of my students is a fair measure, I was considered a highly effective teacher. As an educator, I generally worked 60 hours a week or more teaching and coaching. As an administrator, I usually worked longer hours yet, though not always in as pointedly focused a manner of teachers who are writing lesson plans, grading papers, tutoring struggling learners, and directly meeting the psychological and social-emotional needs of students.

The burden of the past year’s traumas have made effective teaching more difficult than it has ever been. With the danger to their health, the stress of constant attention to virus safety, the need to provide even greater emotional support to students, and the burden of teaching what amounts to two full-time jobs, I am very concerned about the sustainability of this for any committed educator.

The majority of students all over America perform far below their capabilities. The students and many parents don’t realize this because they have never been shown how to thoroughly commit to excellence. Some think that others are simply for fortunate than they. It isn’t good luck that makes the difference; it is hard work. Outstanding educators do know this, but often find themselves isolated and unsupported in their efforts to push students to their maximal potentials. We need to expect, provide support for, and recognize excellence in every aspect of our students’ lives: attendance, behavior, homework completion, learning growth, and achievement levels. Our resources have to focus on teaching "Perseverance, Responsibility, Integrity, Community, and Excellence," always. This is the price of success.

All studies indicate that far and away, the most impactful element in student learning outside the home is the classroom teacher. We have to give our teachers the support they need to complete the exceptionally important work we ask of them.

The most impactful element in student learning outside the classroom is time on task supported by caring adults and family. We need to ensure that every student has the time and support necessary to complete all learning tasks so that they can achieve to the level to which they are capable.

Our fiscal, programmatic, human, and community resources should always remain focused on our becoming the model for all other districts. It is not sufficient to be good or good enough. We can be great, so we should become great. We should commit to "Exceptional Staff for Exceptional Kids."

Shannon Grayson

Shannon Grayson
Shannon Grayson

Family: Husband, 2 children

Business/employment: Customer service manager at Amsoil and small business owner

Town of residence: Lakeside

Government and civic experience and organizations: Prior Staff Sergeant in the 148th Fighter Wing, Air National Guard. I have volunteered countless hours coaching many seasons of soccer, t-ball, baseball, and robotics for children throughout the community. I previously worked for the City of Superior and the Charlevoix Chamber of Commerce, both having similar council/board structures.

If elected, what are the top three things you would focus on as a school board member?

  • Ensure a fiscally sound budget, where the appropriate amount of money is allocated to instructional learning. This is paramount to the success of the district.
  • Student academic success and career readiness. It is critical to focus on academics through measurable metrics and keep our students the primary focus.
  • Be a community advocate by connecting with community members to understand values and expectations to help guide alignment with the district.

What do you think is the most important issue facing the district, short term?

What do you think is the most important issue facing the district, long term?

Short and long-term goals I suppose are subjective as far as the timeline. I would say though, Coronavirus and the ripple effects (specifically academic slide) will continue to be huge obstacles to overcome. Balancing community expectations, safety, health recommendations and more will be an ongoing issue the school board will continue to face. This past year will leave lasting ripple effects that the district will have to address to ensure all students continue to progress academically both in the immediate future and likely for the long-term.

What is something the current board is doing that you would like to see continue?

I am proud of our district for keeping our students in face-to-face learning much of the past year. Academically and developmentally, this is the best choice for our students. But I appreciate that they provided options to families so they could make the best choice for their individual circumstances.

Is there anything the current board is doing that you would consider changing?

I would encourage more feedback from the community, and a greater understanding from the Board that the decisions made impact the lives and livelihoods of the community – it’s more than just approving agenda items. To truly serve the public, it is essential to have a strong link between the Board and the community. I would like to see the Board provide more opportunities to connect with our primary "customer": the community. This might mean more frequent surveys to check-in (not when there is an agenda at play), or open meetings for the public to interact with the Board members, or possibly a better forum for online meetings with our new socially distanced way of life (the livestream via Facebook is hard to hear and see the board members).

I do appreciate the time and effort of each Board member, as I understand the difficulty in balancing work, life, family and community obligations.

I am excited for this opportunity, and I will be accountable to our community to ensure our students excel academically, and our district is successful. I will be respectful while setting high expectations, and I look forward to collaborating with the administration, staff, and community to align and meet the district goals and objectives.

Why did you decide to run for a seat on the school board?

I believe in the importance of civic duty, and I am passionate about the success of our students and district. I want to do my part to ensure the best possible future for each child.

What strengths would you bring to the board?

I aim to offer an open mind and fresh perspective. I am an experienced, decisive manager that works comfortably under pressure. I believe in research and data-driven solutions, with our children first and foremost at the core of every decision.

How do you feel the district has handled the COVID-19 pandemic?

The district has provided options to families to choose what is best for their individual circumstance including both in-person and virtual instruction. They laid out a plan with set time intervals to evaluate the success/needed changes to adapt using guidance from the County Health Department. With any abrupt, unique and massive challenge, there is bound to be differing opinions and room for improvement. Moving forward I hope the district is open minded to feedback and continues to adjust as needed to ensure the well-being of our students, staff and community.

Adam Landwehr

Adam Landwehr
Adam Landwehr

Family: Wife, 4 children

Business/Employment: Owner Wherley Moving Systems

Residence: Poplar

Government and civic experience and organizations: Finishing third year on the Maple School Board; past T-ball coach

If elected, what are the top three things you would focus on as a school board member?

  • I feel that addressing the needs of the students and staff’s mental health should be the top priority. COVID-19 has had in my opinion a much larger effect on the mental health of all society, and children have most definitely been affected. I feel this will have longer lasting effects than COVID-19 will last.
  • Secondly I feel that we need to get our staff and their salaries in line with our competing districts. Currently it takes too long to get from starting salary to the top end. I would like to see that timeline get condensed.
  • Staff turnover is also a concern, currently there are more teachers retiring or leaving the profession than new teachers graduating and joining the profession. We need to be able to create an environment that builds teamwork, and sound cohesive leadership in that start to that process.

What do you think is the most important issue facing the district, short-term?

I feel that the biggest issue short term is trying to get through the COVID-19 situation. Kids need to be in school learning face to face. This is the best and safest situation for these kids. We need to be able to do that safely, for all involved, students, staff and the families of the district.

What do you think is the most important issue facing the district, long-term?

Long term I feel has a few issues, as I mentioned above, mental health, teacher/staff retention and sound leadership.

What is something the current board is doing that you would like to see continue?

I feel they are listening to the community, albeit issues are not getting done as quickly as they or even I would like, but I have learned from being on the board now for three years, it takes time to work though and come to a consensus on some of the trying issues. Iron River has had some parents in the past raise concerns, and I believe they have been addressed for next school year.

Is there anything the current board is doing that you would consider changing?

I do feel that it does sometimes take a bit longer to come to a decision than it should. I’m not sure how to address this, or even change it to be honest, but It can be frustrating from both the staff, students, and families that decisions do take a bit long sometimes. This can look from the outside that the board and administration are not listing, when in reality it’s not the case, just that we have to look at all aspects, and what effects it will have on all. Unfortunately sometimes what looks like a simple decision can have multiple effects that are not seen. While certain issues are being worked through, it can appear we are not listening, and that can question trust in leadership, which in turn can have negative effects long term in staff and family trust.

Why did you decide to run for a seat on the school board?

The first time I decided to run I felt, I mean, I was frustrated with things that I felt the district was doing, at least from an outsider. Some of those perspectives change once you get to learn the backstory on a lot of it, but in initially it was I was frustrated with the way things were being done. My wife and I had contemplated pulling the kids out of the district and either going private school or hiring a teacher or directly. And just having that, and I felt at that time it was probably a little bit selfish of us to do that. I figured if I was going to try to make change, I might as well make change, try to make change anyways, for all of the students, not just mine. So that’s why I originally ran. Running again, I was really on the fence, whether I wanted to or not, I had a lot of encouragement from a lot of community members and friends, and some staff within the district that encouraged me to run for a second term. And I guess ultimately, it came down to my own personal opinions are that some of the decisions that have been made by the board I’ve been vocal against. I think I’ve been a little bit of the minority in some of that vocalizations, but I do feel that those need to be said and addressed and that was the encouragement from community members and family members and some staff, so that’s why I chose to do it again.

What strengths would you bring to the board?

Well, I think that’s a tough question to answer because you know you have your own personal opinions as to what you feel your strengths are. But I think I try to be fiscally responsible, make decisions that are that best for the taxpayers, not necessarily what’s best for sometimes what’s best for staff or what’s best for students, but what’s best for taxpayers, because that’s ultimately who’s paying it. I’ve tried to consistently put students first, more so and I think most recently with the whole COVID-19 stuff over the last eight, nine months, I think I’ve tried to be an advocate bigger for the students more so than staff I think, and that might have come to bite me. So I guess I’m an advocate for the students first, for the taxpayers and for the staff. I mean, I’ve been part of putting some stuff together for the staff over the last number of years that’s helped them with retirement, post retirement benefits and stuff. But from a fiscally side, there’s that. I like to think that I try to think things through before I make a decision. I don’t do anything rash and I usually question everything, only because if I don’t understand it, I’m going to ask.

How do you feel the district has handled the COVID-19 pandemic?

Well, I think that’s a tough question to answer. You know, the district is tied by certain guidelines that we have to follow through the governor in the mandates that he’s put in place, we have to follow that and it trickles down to the county, and we’re in a unique situation where we’re in two counties. So we’re having to follow guidelines from the district or the county health departments for two counties and try to be able to balance that and I think honestly, they’ve done a pretty good job of being able to do that.

So the fact that your hands are tied in, in a number of different ways and being able to, you know, guide your way through those, I think they’ve done a nice job. As far as that goes.

At the same thing you have WIAA with the sports, they’re setting their own guidelines and stuff as well, and I think the staff for us that’s done that, I think they’ve done a really nice job of trying to make sure that these kids are able to participate and get some sense of normalcy. So as far as that stuff goes, I think they’ve done a really nice job. In other cases, as far as when decisions have come to the board, I think personally I've been over on one side of the fence and there’s other board members that have been on the other side of the fence, and for me that’s been a frustrating part, but as an administration and teachers and staff, I think they’ve done a really nice job of trying to weather this storm.

Shari Olson

Shari Olson
Shari Olson


Family: Husband, 2 children

Business/employment: Recently retired from Maple School District

Town of residence: Brule

Government and civic experience and organizations: No. This is my first attempt.

If elected, what are the top three things you would focus on as a school board member?

  • COVID-19 recovery: Getting back to normal operations, supporting students and families, addressing student skill gaps, addressing student mental health needs and continuing a virtual option for families that require it.
  • Teacher recruitment and retention: I do not have the answers, but I believe brainstorming with a team would produce some ideas.
  • Revisit policy on hiring practices: Equity and consistency

What do you think is the most important issue facing the district, short term?

COVID-19 recovery for both academic and mental health. The whole nation will have similar issues. I believe we have a teaching staff that will work extremely hard to get our students up to where they need to be academically, but the mental health issues that have already been noticed will be a more difficult endeavor. Governor Evers has proposed over $50 millions in his biennial budget for student mental health programs and resources. Hopefully, there will be funds that will support our district that will get our kids the help necessary so they can be in good mental health to continue their academic progress. Learning does not take place if their mental health needs aren’t met.

What do you think is the most important issue facing the district, long term?

The budget is and will always be an issue. In a perfect world we would be able to hire all the teachers we need to keep class sizes down, expand on our course offerings, have enough funds to hire full-time para-educators with benefits (to prevent the constant turnover), provide healthy breakfast and lunch options that would improve student alertness and help bring down the childhood obesity rate, purchase all the technology necessary so students can pursue their technology education interests, etc. Unfortunately, this is not a perfect world, or state. Wisconsin spends more per inmate (three times what is spent per pupil) than per student. Our priorities need to change.

Also, teacher recruitment and retention continue to be a problem. With so many teachers retiring and teacher education programs in universities declining, we are seeing the result: fewer teachers to fill vacancies; especially in the math, science and technology areas. We also have a problem with new teacher turnover. When we have excessive turnover there is little consistency and we are constantly in rebuilding mode. Many years ago, Maple was the district where teachers wanted to be. They would use other schools as their steppingstone to gain experience so they could get hired in Maple. Now it seems we are the steppingstone.

What is something the current board is doing that you would like to see continue?

Securing substitute teachers has been an issue for a few years. I was happy to see the increase in pay for substitutes as a result of COVID-19. I am hoping that will continue after COVID-19, and eventually, be increased again at some point sooner than later. We rely on our subs when teachers are out sick, when coaches need to leave for games, when staff accompany students for music, club/activity competitions, and for teacher workshops/training. Often when subs are not available, other teachers must cover their classes. The incentive plan and contracted sub idea was what was needed to keep our subs in the district and recruiting from other communities.

Is there anything the current board is doing that you would consider changing?

I think the board has a tough job. It seems many of the decisions they make involve the budget, or lack of, and, since there’s never enough funding, choices need to be made and I am sure those decisions are based on what they feel is best for students and the budget. Numbers will be down in some grade levels for next school year and I know when that happens, we eliminate a section to help with the budget. Depending on how low those numbers are, I don’t think I would be in favor of eliminating a section of that grade, especially in the K-2 grades, unless there’s a guarantee those positions will come back when numbers go up. And if that were the case, what will the magic number be to bring that teacher back? My position when I was in the district is an example of that. Our district used to have three library media specialists; one for every level. When the former library media specialists retired or left the district, they were not replaced.

Often, you will have numbers look small in the spring for the following year, but over the summer and into the fall those numbers typically go up, not down, in our district. If a grade level has a year where they are teaching a smaller class, that should reflect well on the progress that class makes from their fall reading and math assessment to the spring. It will reflect well on the state Forward Exam. I would think next year, of all years, we would want smaller classes to invest more time in individuals/groups of students who will be playing catch up from the pandemic.

Why did you decide to run for a seat on the school board?

I have only been on the "teaching" side of education and have always been interested in how educational organization policies (federal, state, local) affected what I did and my ability to do it. I have attended numerous board meetings and feel I could bring something to the table in the decision-making process when it comes to what’s best for kids. I would also look forward to being on the other side and, most likely, come to see why decisions I didn’t necessarily agree with (as a teacher) had to be made.

Northwestern has recently scored very well on the state report card. This is a direct result of all staff members that come into contact with our students. I would further like to support the progress being made toward keeping our employees and making it a place where the best teachers and support staff apply for our open positions and make Maple their first choice. I am a graduate of Northwestern, as is my husband and sons along with my eight siblings and numerous nieces and nephews. My dad was a teacher in the district for 35 years. I feel a connection to Maple and continue to want what is best for the students so they can have a positive experience just as my family did. Once a Tiger, always a Tiger.

What strengths would you bring to the board?

I think I bring a unique perspective having been an employee and a recent teacher in all four buildings. The School Board is in the business of serving the students and I feel my decision making would be driven by what’s best for students, their families and the community. I am a 34-year educator, 30 of those years in the Maple School District. I am a proud graduate of UW-Superior where I earned my bachelors (early childhood/elementary education) and masters (reading education) degrees and earned my K-12 Library Media Specialist license. I have taught pre-K through grade 12 and have served on numerous education committees throughout my career, as well as being a coach for 17 years.

As the library media specialist for the district, I had the opportunity to teach in all four buildings. That experience allowed me to see the unique challenges each building faces while at the same time witnessing the amazing staff Maple employees to best to meet those challenges.

How do you feel the district has handled the COVID-19 pandemic?

Since I am not involved anymore in the day-to-day operations of the district, I can only rely on what I have learned from board meetings. I think the district has done well with precautionary measures to keep staff and students safe and it seems they have been accommodating with staff being quarantined and working from home. Since this is new for everyone and there is no manual for teaching in a pandemic, I think every district is in a trial-and-error situation; adjusting as they go. Decisions being made regarding students face to face learning vs online learning will always result in some families happy with the decision and some upset. The focus should be on what is safe for all involved and that we remember this is temporary. The whole nation is struggling with the dilemma schools face with the concern about student mental health and academic progress (or lack of.) I think the fact that our students are currently IN school is extraordinary, as so many are not, though I would like to see more resources and time available to staff. The district has added teachers to help with online classes, which is a good start, but I know staff are struggling with the hours they are keeping doing both face to face and online while trying to managing the revolving door of students who are in and out with quarantine, just as parents struggled when school was closed and they had their children at home while trying to work themselves. There is no easy answer. Maple does have the edge though as we have a professional, dedicated staff who will get our students back on track once some kind of normal returns.