Newcomer forces a contested race

By Gail Peckler-Dziki

As two incumbents filed for re-election to the Wilmot Union High School Board, they face a challenger in the Spring Election, which will be on April 3.

The three candidates, including incumbents Wayne Trongeau and Deborah Rudolph, are seeking three-year terms.

The candidates provided the following information regarding their platforms and intentions at the request of the Report.

Travis Wetzel
Wetzel, a newcomer, is the lone challenger in the race. He graduated from Wilmot Union High School and then received a B.A. in business and marketing from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater before earning an MA in educational leadership from Cardinal-Stritch University in Milwaukee.

Wetzel, 32, of Twin Lakes, is the career and technical education coordinator at Union Grove High School and resides in Twin Lakes. This is his first foray into politics.

He belongs to several civic organizations; Union Grove Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, Lake Geneva Chamber of Commerce Professional Organizations and the Wisconsin Association for Career and Technical Education.

Wetzel, who remains passionate about the school, wants to secure a seat to ensure fiscal responsibility and continue the school’s success.

“My wife, Jamie and I are Wilmot alumni and passionate about the Panthers. I have nearly 10 years of experience inside the organization as a Business and IT teacher, department chair, and Career and Technical Education Coordinator,” Wetzel wrote. “My mission is to ensure Wilmot High School is providing the best educational experiences possible to all students. To meet this mission, financial resources need to be used efficiently and responsibly to offer authentic, high-quality learning experiences for all students.”

Additionally, he has a mission to help the school improve upon its test scores.

“WUHS needs a positive culture for learning and retaining exceptional educators. A focus on leadership and positive educational change is needed to improve the score on the School Report Card (62.3 – Meets Few Expectations). I am excited to be part of a leadership team to transform Wilmot into an exceptional institution, where I hope to send my kids to one day.”

Deborah Rudolph (Inc.)
Rudolph, current vice president, has served on the school board since 2015. She is a retired educator and earned a BSE minor in library science from UW-Whitewater in 1975 and an ME from National Louis University in 1998.

She is also retired from the Wisconsin Educators Association Council (WEAC) and the National Education association (NEA).

Rudolph, 64, also serves as a chief election inspector for the Salem Lakes Village in the Silver Lake Hall.

“I am a retired educator with a knowledge of the inside workings of a school district. I understand the highs and lows that come with educating today’s young adults,” Rudolph states as reason for seeking another term.

Wayne Trongeau (Inc.)
Trongeau, the current president, looks to extend his service on the school board beyond his 14 years.

“I have been on the Wilmot High School board for the past fourteen years. I enjoy working with the other board members and doing what is needed to give the students the education they need to succeed in life,” Trongeau states, “We work with the administration to have a safe environment and to provide a wide choice of classes to help the students prepare for their futures. When problems surface, like the school’s report card from the state, the administration address’s the problem and takes measures to make corrections, with the support of the board.”

“I have also attended the State Education Convention in Milwaukee for the last fourteen years, where I have attended classes and lectures and talked to board members from all over the state. It has given me tools to be a better board member and understand my responsibilities. Our board has always worked as a team along with the administration and teachers in the best interest of the students and the district.”


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