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West Allis native gets on Board with school management issues

April 16, 2013

West Allis - Former high school and college teacher Patti Ulwelling is the newest member of the West Allis-West Milwaukee School Board.

Ulwelling, who along with two incumbents ran unopposed in the spring election, succeeds Annette Frymark, who did not seek re-election.

In joining the board, Ulwelling said she has no personal agenda other than helping the schools continue to improve.

"Education is something I value," she said. "It's one of the most important things we can do to serve the future."

She said she approves of what she sees as a resurgence of technical education in the district and supports getting kids thinking early about what whey want to do beyond high school.

Ulwelling also said she supports inquiry learning "where students take ownership of their learning."

That approach also builds character, because students recognize they are responsible for their learning, she said. Ulwelling also applauded efforts to encourage positive behavior.

A strong supporter of the arts, Ulwelling said they, too, contribute to character and academic achievement.

As far as taxes are concerned, Ulwelling described herself as middle of the road, not favoring a blanket approach such as insistence on a zero-tax increase budget every year. Each issue needs to be examined on its own merits, she said.

Investing in schools is an investment for the long-term, an approach Ulwelling said she favors, but a balance must be found between that and the needs of taxpayers, she said.

Ulwelling said she is looking forward to adding her voice to the School Board as a whole. And she will bring several strengths to help with decisionmaking.

"I have a well-rounded perspective," she said, plus a career that has involved education.

She has an MBA, so she can read financial statements, she said. She also has handled budgets and staff, so she is well aware of practical limits, she said.

"You must live within your means," Ulwelling said.

WEST ALLIS-WEST MILWAUKEE SCHOOL BOARD

PATTI ULWELLING

Age: 53

Address: 7514 W. Dakota St.

Years in community: West Allis native

Employer/occupation: currently employed as an organizational development specialist at Mortgage Guaranty Insurance Corporation (MGIC); former high school speech, English and theater teacher; college administrator and part-time college instructor in communication, speech and writing; many years in staff development and training roles

Education: bachelor's degree in communication arts with secondary education certification (seventh to 12th grade), Cardinal Stritch University; master's degree in communication, from Marquette University; MBA from Cardinal Stritch; human resources certification through the Human Resources Certification Institute

Political history: none

Community involvement: Neighborhood Block Watch captain; mentor high school students through the YMCA Sponsor a Scholar program; active in a number of professional organizations including as a former director and president of the American Society for Training and Development, Southeast Wisconsin Chapter; former PTA president and school activity volunteer; years ago served on the district committee that studied the gifted and talented program and on the committee that reviewed graduation requirements

Family: husband Cory; daughter Katie, 29

Contact: (414) 321-4727; will be assigned a School Board email that will be available on the district's website, wawm.k12.wi.us

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