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West Allis-West Milwaukee School Board (4 seats)

Voters Guide for April 6 election

March 23, 2010

Jake Dreske

Age: 37

Employer/occupation: account manager, Graybar Electric, West Allis

Education: Greendale Martin Luther High School

Years in Community: 35

Family: married; two children

Related experience: no previous attempts for public office.

E-mail:jdreske@wi.rr.com

Why are you running for office?

I am running for School Board because I have one child in the school district and another one starting next year. I would like to help ensure that they have an exceptional educational opportunity attending West Allis-West Milwaukee schools.

What is the number one issue in this race?

I think the way times are now, budget will be the number one topic on everyone's mind. I would like to address this issue by researching efficiencies rather than cuts in services or increases.

Name one other key issue in this race.

Communication, or lack thereof, seems to be another issue that needs to be addressed, both within the school district and from the district and board to the community. I would like to personally open dialog at all levels and develop additional channels for relaying information and gathering feedback.

Why should residents vote for you this spring?

As someone who is a longtime resident and taxpayer with a child in the school district and another one starting next year, and who has a brother and friends who work for the district, I feel I bring a balanced and fresh perspective that is needed on the School Board.

Jane Edgar

Age: 51

Employer/occupation: attorney (inactive); stay-at-home mom

Education: law degree, University of Wisconsin-Madison Law School

Years in community: 18

Family: married; one child

Related experience: active in West Allis-West Milwaukee School District PTA; president of school PTA for past 3 years; Legislative Committee chairperson of WAWM PTA District Council

E-mail:jane.edgar@tds.net

Why are you running?

I want to be on the School Board to help make the tough decisions that are quickly approaching. Being an attorney, I'm a natural fit. My family is very devoted to the district and I'd like to give back to the community.

What is the number one issue in this race?

Job one is school funding. We do not receive all the state and national funding we're entitled to, and I am prepared to work with legislators and to investigate every avenue of funding, grants, sponsorships and other monies without increasing demands on our over-burdened taxpayers. It can be done.

Name one other key issue.

We need to be visionaries. With the rapid growth in technology, our students' abilities can be obsolete before they even graduate. I will concentrate on keeping our specialized programs on the cutting edge so our kids can find careers in the global community.

Why should residents vote for you this spring?

Because I care. As a stay-at-home mother, I will dedicate many hours to the board, and attend meetings and conferences during the day when others can't. I'm an attorney, so I will explore and analyze potential solutions to challenges we face. I want our schools to shine.

Annette Frymark (inc.)

Age: 52

Employer/occupation: implementation specialist, Data Specialists Inc.

Education: Nathan Hale High School

Years in community: 52

Family: married; two children

Related experience: completing my third year School Board

E-mail:afrymark@earthlink.net

Why are you running?

I am committed to the success of public education through neighborhood schools and making a difference in the community. I want to see every child succeed and have the brightest future possible. I would be honored to continue serving.

What is the number one issue in this race?

A key issue is continuing to maintain a balanced budget while being fiscally responsible. We have all faced difficult economic times for a number of years. Our efforts include successful receipt of a multitude of grants and implementing efficiencies identified by administrators and staff.

Name one other key issue.

In conjunction to the balanced budget, we need to continue strides to offer our students a highest-quality education and give all children the tools they need to continue beyond high school as productive members of our community. Today's youth is tomorrow's future.

Why should residents vote for you this spring?

I ask for the privilege of continuing to serve the community as a Board of Education member. My greatest desire is to contribute toward the success of our youth. I believe the key to success is partnerships - between family, schools and community resulting in student success and positive futures.

Len Kopet

Age: 47

Employer/occupation: currently employed with Direct Drive Express; former business owner and former plant and general manager for two manufacturing facilities

Education: Homestead High School, Mequon

Years in community: 18

Family: married; three children

Related experience: no previous attempts for public office

E-mail:kopet.l@sbcglobal.net

Why are you running?

To bring in a fresh outlook. I value quality education, which is essential to the future of our workforce and entrepreneurs. We need to explore ways to thoughtfully weigh the demands on our taxpayers while continuing to increase our efficiency and examine ways to stabilize operating costs.

What is the number one issue in this race?

We need to enhance our quality of 21st century education to meet the continuing and challenging needs of our future work force. We will continue hiring qualified teachers without straining our education budgets while also examine better ways to fund our district.

Name one other key issue.

We need to hold all administration personnel accountable with fiscal responsibility and to discourage "the business as usual" philosophy and to support our other co-curriculum activities and sports programs throughout the district.

Why should residents vote for you this spring?

I would like the opportunity to make a difference in our wonderful district. I believe it's time to take a tougher stance on finding ways to cut our tax levy without cutting quality education. We need to develop better communication between residents, teachers, administrators and the board.

George Sotiros (inc.)

Age: 43

Employer/occupation: vice president of information systems, Weyco Group

Education: B.S., management information systems, University of South Florida

Years in community: 43

Family: married; four children

Related experience: appointed to School Board in November 2009; served as president of Nathan Hale Booster Club and West Allis Youth Football

E-mail:gsotiros@wi.rr.com

Why are you running for office?

With children at every level of the school system I come in contact with a wide array of citizens whom have concerns and ideas which I hope to convey to the board. I am a home-grown product of the system so I can appreciate the historical perspective of decisions made.

What is the number one issue in this race?

I believe the taxpayers of the district need to be represented and the district needs to be held accountable. I am a strong believer of ensuring tax money is spent wisely, especially today when taxes and family expenses are spiraling out of control.

Name one other key issue in this race.

Decisions that the district makes need to be evaluated to ensure that the vision, goals and priorities of the community are met. I will not "rubber stamp" all the administration's proposals without asking tough hard questions.

Why should residents vote for you this spring?

I promise you that I will be dedicated and hard working, I won't talk aimlessly at meetings, I will conduct myself in a respectful, collaborative manner in public, and I won't have a single-issue focus but rather take an interest in the success of all students and citizens.

Susan Stalewski (inc.)

Age: 51

Employer/occupation: clinical associate professor, Medical Laboratory Science, and director of e-Learning, College of Health Sciences, University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee

Education: M.B.A.

Years in community: 27

Family: married; three children

Related experience: School Board member since 2004; WA-WM Education Foundation board, 2007-10; West Milwaukee Community Development Authority, 2004-present; West Allis-West Milwaukee Community Coalition, 2009-10.

E-mail:st1237@sbcglobal.net

Why are you running for office?

I would like to continue to serve our community and to help the WA-WM schools be places where students and staff want to be. My goal is strong schools for the benefit of all residents.

What is the number one issue in this race?

My top concern is to ensure that all students in our schools have the opportunity to be the best that they can be. I will continue to make certain that our focus remains on student needs and to balance all other district priorities toward the goal of student success.

Name one other key issue in this race.

Funding for public education is an ongoing issue. It is unlikely that any new dollars will be provided by the state for the next number of years. I will work diligently with my colleagues to reduce costs and to be frugal in terms of any new initiatives.

Why should residents vote for you this spring?

The issues facing public education are important and complex. The years ahead will be challenging for public education everywhere. My experience, background, and perspective contribute to the informed and rational board leadership that our community deserves.

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