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Maple School Board race attracts 4 candidates

Two seats are available on the board.

American Flag stock photo

MAPLE — One incumbent and three newcomers are seeking two seats on the Maple School Board in the April 5 election. Each brings a different perspective to the race.

Jeremiah Glonek has been attending school board meetings for the past two years, making his voice heard during the COVID-19 pandemic. He personally knows many of the district's staff, teachers, school board members and parents. He said they often talk about concerns and areas in need of improvement.

“The teachers, staff, and students can trust that I have their best interest and want to continue to see growth for the district. I think it’s important that parents are being represented that currently have children in the district,” said Glonek, whose children are in fourth grade and kindergarten.

Scott Essen of Maple said his 40 years of experience in the construction field and the fact that he’s owned several businesses make him a good fit for the school board.

“I have real world experiences in communication, working with people, budgeting and property management,” said Essen, who has three children that attend Northwestern Elementary School.

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Mike Granlund of Lakeside, who has served on the board since 2010, said his experience and countless community contacts set him apart from the competition.

Brule candidate Chris Schultz, a former teacher and administrator, would like to put his education background to work for the district.

“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,” Schultz said.

Top priorities

Granlund said the top challenge facing the school district is graduating students who can not only function in this world but also thrive.

“We can accomplish this by hiring and maintaining quality staff and providing an environment where students are challenged and want to be in school. This begins on a child’s first day of school,” Granlund said.

Asked about how to alleviate worker shortages, he said both financial and non-financial incentives should be on the table.

“Showing respect for every employee creates a positive worker environment,” Granlund said.

As the effects of the pandemic linger, Schultz said improving student achievement and supporting teachers are important issues to focus on.

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"We need to expect, provide support for and recognize excellence in every aspect of our students’ lives," from attendance and behavior to achievement levels, he said, and ensure students have the time and support needed to achieve to the level to which they are capable.

Teachers are vital to that equation.

“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 ... We need to actively, regularly, and tangibly recognize the outstanding work of our staff” Schultz said.

Inflation, mental health issues and getting students back to post-pandemic academic levels are the top priorities for Glonek.

“I would make sure taxpayers' dollars are being spent wisely and would encourage all grants to be applied for ... that the counselors have enough resources to deal with mental health ... (that) students and teachers have the time and resources to thrive in their school environments,” Glonek said.

He said jobs that have been harder to fill in the last two years will become more appealing as second jobs due to the rising inflation rate. Glonek also said that expanding mental health resources for students is absolutely necessary.

Essen said making the district a place where students and staff want to come and stay and retaining staff at a living wage are a priority, as well as hearing the needs of teachers, staff and citizens.

“I feel that I can better the district by encouraging open communications between staff and board, being approachable and open to ideas, thinking outside of the box on issues that are otherwise seen as cut and dry and working to allot equal access to school resources between buildings,” Essen said.

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Scott Essen

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Scott Essen
Contributed / Scott Essen

Age: 55

Family: Wife Kristie, son Cole (fifth grade), daughters Breklyn (fourth grade) and Aunikka (third grade)

Town: Maple

Occupation: Superintendent for Michels Construction, concrete division; previously spent 10 years working as a pipeline inspector for Cleveland Integrity Services, with Enbridge.

Civic and Community Engagement: Involved with the committee supporting a new school referendum in the Maple School District in 2001. Youth hockey coach for 12 years in Superior and Iron River.

Why are you running for school board? I chose to run for the position because I firmly believe in making the school district a place where students and staff want to come and stay, retaining staff at a living wage is a priority, as well as hearing the needs of not only our teachers and staff but the citizens of the district who fund our schools.

Jeremiah Glonek

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Jeremiah Glonek
Contributed / Jeremiah Glonek

Age: 42

Family: Wife Aimee Glonek, son Jorde Glonek (fourth grade), daughter Jacie Glonek (kindergarten)

Town: Poplar

Occupation: Self-employed. Owner and Property Manager of Glonek Rentals LLC and recently Main Street Laundry in Iron River. Prior to this position, I was a firefighter for 17 years and served on the executive board for Local 74 (12 years with the Superior Fire Department, 5 years with the U.S. Forest Service)

Civic and community engagement: I have volunteered many hours coaching football, wrestling, baseball, basketball, and soccer over the past six years. I volunteer for the fundraising events that are involved with youth sports. And I currently sit on some of the youth sports boards.

Why are you running for school board? I’m ready to be more active in our community outside of the many hours I’ve put into volunteering as a coach for youth sports in the last six years. My interest to run for the school board started to evolve in the spring of 2020. I’ve been approached from many individuals that have encouraged me to step up and run this term. I’ve become more aware of the importance to show up for our community and my children. I made sure my voice was heard during some of the most difficult board meetings our district has endured. I want to be a part of the board and to have a spot at the table. I’m ready to get in there and make sure the district is continuing to improve and move forward ensuring that we are focused on the right areas to do so. The teachers, staff, and students can trust that I have their best interest and want to continue to see growth for the district. I think it’s important that parents are being represented that currently have children in the district.

Mike Granlund

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Mike Granlund
Contributed / Mike Granlund

Age: 71

Family: Two children, five grandchildren, four bonus grandchildren, one great-grandson

Town: Lakeside

Occupation: Retired State of Wisconsin employee (1971-2005) Grain Unit Chief 1985-2005; Catholic Charities Housing Counselor, part-time (2007-2017)

Civic/Community Engagement: Town of Lakeside Board member (1979-89), Douglas County Board member (1980-82), School District of Maple Board member (2010 to present, eight years as treasurer), Rookie Basketball Association leader 1986 to present, Poplar Wolves Youth Basketball president 1991 to present; church youth worker 1983 to present.

Why are you running? Primarily an interest in civic involvement and concern for youth.

Chris Schultz

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Chris Schultz
Contributed / Chris Schultz

Age: 57

Town: Brule

Occupation: Semi-retired after three decades in education as a teacher and administrator

Civic/community engagement: 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.

Why are you running for school board? I believe my background in education can be a resource for the School District of Maple. It is said that school boards discuss what they know. 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.

Maria Lockwood covers news in Douglas County, Wisconsin, for the Superior Telegram.
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