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Commitment is quality No. 1

School Board needs to fill vacant seat

Nov. 14, 2012

Shorewood - As the Shorewood School Board prepares to fill its vacant seat, a key factor in its decision will be the commitment exhibited by applicants.

In a discussion on Tuesday of the skills and attributes desired in applicants for the fifth seat, vacated with Michael Mishlove's recent resignation, the board emphasized the need for a member who recognizes and is willing to make the time commitment required of the role.

Although board members acknowledged that it might be valuable to have a candidate with expertise in certain areas, regardless of one's specific background, "If you don't have that commitment, you're not going to stick it out," President Rob Reinhoffer said.

Board member Ruth Treisman also noted the need for applicants to be aware of the time commitment involved. Beyond that, she warned against the board getting too specific about what it is looking for, to avoid discouraging people from applying.

"If someone's just really interested, people can learn about this or that issue," she said.

Alternately, board member David Cobb was in favor of considering what type of skills or expertise could round out and improve the board. Further, Cobb saw value in seeking out candidates with specific attributes that might help to diversify the board - such as another female member, or one who would provide representation for Atwater Elementary School.

"We have an opportunity to craft a board that really kind of has a representation of the community," Cobb said.

However, others questioned the legality of limiting applicants to a particular type of candidate. Colin Plese said he would prefer to have a clear legal understanding of human resources practices before further discussing the possibility of establishing more specific criteria for applicants.

Superintendent Martin Lexmond said he would inquire about any legal implications and report that information back to the board at its next meeting, along with a summary of Tuesday's discussion and more on the types of questions the board may ask of candidates for the open seat.

So far no applications have been submitted for the vacancy, Lexmond said. The deadline to apply is Nov. 30. The board will interview applicants in December, with a final decision to be made at its Dec. 11 meeting.

Whoever is appointed to the role will fill the vacancy through April 2013, with the opportunity to then run for the remaining one year of the term in the spring School Board election.

AT A GLANCE

Qualified electors in the Shorewood School District interested in filling the School Board vacancy can apply to: Superintendent Martin Lexmond, c/o Shorewood School District, 1701 E. Capitol Drive, Shorewood, WI 53211. Applications should include a resume and a letter of intent that addresses:

reason(s) the candidate wants to serve on the board

qualifications and experiences relevant to the position

candidate's educational philosophy

candidate's general views regarding board and superintendent roles

candidate's general views on district strengths and areas that may need improvement

candidate's availability for board duties

Application letters must be postmarked no later than Nov. 30.

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