Good Evening and Happy American Education Week!

What a great weekend for November. I hope you had a chance to get out and enjoy this unseasonably warm weather. From the initial feedback I have been receiving, the Conference was a success; I would like to say thank you to all attendees. A survey will be published in the next couple of weeks, please take a moment to give us your feedback. Also, thank you to all of our fine presenters and vendors for making the conference the success it was. And thank you to our sponsors for helping make the conference possible: UW Oshkosh, National Insurance Services, Culver’s VIP Foundation, Farmers Union, CESA Foundation, Forecast5, PMA, Meemic, Ehlers, Jostens and WEA Members Benefits.

Mark your calendars for the 2016 conference which will be held on November 8-9 in Stevens Point. If you have ideas for themes and topics, please email them to me ( The planning for the 2016 conference will begin at our January Board Meeting.

Congratulations to the 2015 WiRSA Rural Award Winners! The following award winners were introduced and recognized at the conference luncheon on Thursday, Nov. 12.

Rural Board of Education Member for the Year — David Amundson of Cashton

Rural Administrator of the Year — Patricia Vickman of Southern Door

Rural Support Staff Person of the Year — Jim Booth of Bruce

Rural Teacher of the Year — Ron Von Glahn of De Soto

Rural Advocacy Award — Jerry Fiene

2015-16 Election Update:

At the Nov. 12 Board Meeting, the following appointments were approved:

  • Robert Smudde, District Administrator, Ithaca, the Region 2 Administrator filling the vacated seat of Melissa Weigal of Weston.
  • Diana Bohman was appointed to fill the vacant Regional Public Library seat.
  • Fred Reckling (unopposed) of Portage will be the new BOE representative for Region 1.
  • Chuck Keller (unopposed) of Weston School District will be the new teacher representative for Region 2.
  • Jerry Walters (unopposed) will stay in his present position as the Region 3 CESA representative for another term.
  • An election will be held for the Region 4 administrator seat. Ben Neihaus of Florence and Dave Scholz of Philips are both running for that seat. Election information will go out this week to the Region 4 electors.

Events from this past week:

  • Sunday, Nov. 8 — Presented to the Green County Democrats in Monroe, WI.
  • Monday, Nov. 9 — I took part in the weekly Educational Issues Teleconference. We discussed the proposed legislation regarding referendums, SB355 and AB481. There has been no word of a hearing date at this time. We also discussed the Transgender Bill, AB469 which has a hearing scheduled for Nov. 19 at 10 a.m. The consensus is that this needs to be left to local control and I would agree with this stance. Please let me know if you feel WiRSA should take a different approach. We also discussed AB144 regarding the school start date.
  • Wednesday and Thursday, Nov. 11-12 — WiRSA Conference, Annual Meeting and Board of Directors Meeting. Thank you to everyone that helped.
  • Friday, Nov. 13 — Presented to the CESA 11 PAC in Turtle Lake — thank you, Jerry. I also visited the Fall Creek School District.
  • Sunday, Nov. 15 — I was interviewed by Kathryn Carley from the Door County Daily News regarding our conference and the state of rural education.

Events for the upcoming week:

  • Monday, Nov. 16 — Weekly Education Issues conference call.
  • Thursday, Nov. 19 — Assembly Education Hearing on AB469 (Transgender Bill). Meeting with the two-year campus deans in Fond du Lac (pending).
  • Friday, Nov. 20 — Presenting to the CESA 12 PAC in Ashland — thank you, Ken.

5Share — 5Share is up and running! The majority of the presentation from the conference are posted under the documents section. I have put quick links out for the NREA Update, SAA Updates and WASB Legislative Update (found under discussion). Beginning today, the weekly update will be posted under the documents area. If you are having trouble accessing the site, please let me know. My hope is to have the majority of our conversation and information done via 5Share by the beginning of 2016. Rather than me pushing all information to you, you will be able to access it at your will which will free up your inboxes.

Grant/Scholarship Reminders:

Have a great week and happy hunting next weekend!