Spring Election 2016: Wilmot Union High School District candidate Q&A

Voters in the Wilmot Union High School District will be able to cast a ballot in a contested school board race on April 5.

Voters will be able to vote for three at-large candidates out of a field of five. The top three in votes will fill the seats.

The same questionnaire was submitted by westofthei.com to each candidate, by email or by mail.

Here is their biographical information, followed by their question responses:

Marcie Badtke — Age: 59. Education: 2 years technical college. Occupation: IT Specialist. Previous Political Experience: Served for 15 years on the Wilmot Grade School/Trevor Wilmot Grade School boards, and a founding member of the Wilmot Education Foundation. I have served the past 6 years on the Wilmot Union High School Board.

Sue Gerber — Age: 56. Education: Wilmot High School Graduate. Occupation: Postmaster Silver Lake Post Office. Previous political experience: Trustee Village of Silver Lake 2008-2013. President Village of Silver Lake 2013-2015.

Roger Johnson — Age: 63. Education: Tremper High School. Occupation: Palmen Buick GMC Cadillac sales. Previous elected or governmental experience: County Board 2001-2010, village president 2007-2011, village trustee 2014-present.

Wayne Trongeau — Age: 66 . Education: Graduated from Wilmot High School in 1968. Occupation: Retired in 2010 from Twin Lakes Police Department after 38 years as a police officer. Previous political experience: Member of Wilmot High School Board of Education since 2004, currently serving as Board President.

Steve Turner — Age: 47. Education: Triple Major in Business Administration, Human Resource Management and Psychology. Occupation: Executive Vice President of Operations at Yunker Industries. Previous political experience: Current school board member at Wilmot Union High School.

1.) Why are you running for the Wilmot High School District Board?

Badtke — I am running for the Wilmot High School Board to continue to support the leading edge education the Wilmot High School offers. I would like to grow the integration of technology in our school. To me it is very exciting when our students present projects they are working on in the classroom. The most recent was the new computer classes showing the board what they were able to produce in the classroom. I have always wanted our school to be on the leading edge, the school to follow. We need to continue to be in a state of growth, expanding our selection to meet tomorrow’s needs. I want to continue to be a part of that challenge.

Gerber — As a proud Wilmot High School Alumni I care about the future of the school. I have a fair and open mind and want to fairly represent both the students and the teachers and give parents a choice in who will represent their children as well as keeping in mind the financial impact of how some of my decisions can affect the taxpayers of the District.

Johnson — Hopefully to help with new ideas. It is a great high school. I hope I can keep the school as great as it is. And to make sure we look out at every option to help the kids and teachers.

Trongeau —  Being a school board member is unlike most other elected positions. The boards authority comes from the board as a whole, not as individual members.  Our present board is a pleasure to work with.  We take the information on any given subject, discuss and get input from all board members.  And then try to make decisions in the best interest of all the stake holders.  The best interests of the students is a priority while watching the burden to the taxpayers.  I would like to continue working as a team member of this board.

Turner — The existing school board has done a very solid job of managing budgetary challenges, exercising discernment involving complex issues and moreover anchoring the needed change the school has gone through in the past several years.  I believe the expertise I bring as a result of my professional background coupled with the energy and passion I have for the development of our young adults is an excellent match both for the existing challenges the board faces as well as the continued development of the schools vocational breadth.  Young adults require, more than ever, strong mentors in their paths who model exceptional character, hard work and leadership skills.  Our kids also need to find a post educational path that fits their skills and aptitudes so they begin to build a vocational life-direction.  When our kids have these two elements they will be better equipped for their futures and have a foundation constructed of self-worth and a direction they are passionate about.  I am running for the board to contribute to the guidance being put forth by the current board leveraging my expertise and to dig into the above areas to help accelerate progress.

2.) What will be your top priorities if elected to the board?

Badtke — If I am reelected, the top priority will be funding to support the continued growth of our offerings.

Gerber — With the situation of the walking path having a portion of it needing to be relocated, I would make sure that situations and issues are thoroughly researched and investigated so that situations like this do not happen in the future. The school is host to some community activities that I would like to make sure are continued as well as the great programs for students such as Project Lead the Way, ProStart, Tech Ed and AcaDec.

Johnson — Just to maintain everything of the school and look at everything close to keep things like they are. To work with teachers and students.

Trongeau —  Student achievement is always the top of the list.  Retaining our administrators, teachers and support staff who are all dedicated to student achievement.  Continue to work as a team member with the board to do the best for the students, the district and the tax payers.

Turner — As I have eluded to in the prior response, my core priorities if elected are as follows: 1) Continue to contribute to the existing challenges and opportunities the board faces leveraging my 20 years of organizational and budgetary leadership experience. 2) Engage heavily on the leadership and mentorship competencies of the school.  I firmly believe our young adults of all vocational paths need strong examples set for them relative to leadership and character development.  When we think back to our high school experiences there are teachers and administrators that stand out to us as having shaped our paths and who we are today.  One of my core priorities is to make positive impact in this area. 3) We have many diverse and talented young adults at our school.  But do they all know where their talents lie?  Have they found a connection to a career path?  I don’t believe the right path for every young adult runs through 4 years of college and the corresponding heap of educational debt.  I believe we need to help our kids discover their talents and passions then help them gain a foundation toward creating a career out of them.  Consider all of the small businesses of today whereby a hardworking individual with a skill built a way forward for him or herself anchored by doing what they were good at and enjoyed.  There are millions of unemployed college graduates in America today carrying thousands of dollars in debt yet there are many, many vocational jobs available that go unfilled.  I believe this is anchored in part by mainstream “collegenics” where a four year degree is assumed to be the right path as opposed to encouraging our young adults to find their passion and build a life from it.  A core objective of mine is to dig in and find ways to help all of our kids find their talents and their passions and identify a go forward post high school career path.




  1. Keep Wilmot Running Smooth says:

    Don’t vote for Gerber or Johnson. Look at the mess they caused in Silver Lake. Its going to take the Silver Lake board a long time to fix all of Johnson and Gerber mistakes. They don’t have a good track record.

  2. Taxpayer says:

    So Sue is going to represent the students and the teachers. Does she realize the school board is elected to represent the taxpayer? She certainly wasn’t looking out for the taxpayer in Silver Lake when she racked up tens of thousands of dollars in lawyer fees, spend money illegally on remodeling the Silver Lake village hall and bought a library building without approval from the Silver Lake village board.

    Do NOT vote for Sue Gerber or Roger Johnson. You’ll regret it when your property tax bill comes.

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