Bill Thiel

Bill Thiel

School Board Incumbent Candidate

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Tell us about yourself!

Good Morning! My name is Bill Thiel. I have lived in Oconomowoc 27 years of which, I have been married to my wife Susan for 25 years. We have three great kids that worked their way through the Oconomowoc school district. First at Meadowview, then Nature Hill and then Oconomowoc High School. I was a stay-at-home dad while they were going to school, so I was very involved in the school system. Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Band, Choir, Theatre, Gymnastics, Robotics, Softball, Soccer, Tennis, and the Ski team just to name a few. I am currently a Human Resource Director in Merton and have been in Human Resources for most of my professional life.

Why are you running for School Board?

After my children graduated from the district, I became involved again when I saw that there was a problem going on with the school board. That is about the same time that the recall was started. I attended that first day to collect signatures and I could not believe the stories. I started to attend meetings and again, I was flabbergasted about the way things were run. Many parents came to the meetings and were not allowed to speak. You could tell many of the board members had personal agendas and were not considering the parents or the kids in what they were thinking. When the three members later resigned, I applied to fill their seat but didn’t get the position. Then when Scott resigned last month, I was selected to fill his seat on the board. I have served now for a little over a month. I want to bring stability to the board, and without a person agenda.

Provide some details on your involvement in the Oconomowoc Area School District (OASD) over the past 2 years.

While I described most of that in the paragraph above, some of the things we have already done on the board since I have been on over the past month is, select the new superintendent, and put the old Meadowview School up for sale. I am looking forward to what the district will accomplish over the next three years.

What is the OASD doing well?

In general, we have excellent staff, teachers, and leadership in the district. That is definitely a strong point for us. We produce good educational outcomes for almost all our students. I hear that over and over from our parents. Our goal of course is to not only be good but to be “unrivaled”. We still need to move from GOOD to GREAT (also a great book by the way).

What are the biggest issues facing the OASD and how do you plan on addressing them if elected?

We have many issues facing the district right now. Many districts have these same issues: Enrollments are down. Expenses are up. Funding is not. We need to increase our market share so that when parents and students around here search for a great school to send their kids to they chose OASD. One of the things we need to do a better job on is celebrating our successes. We have many great things going on in our schools but few people other than the parents know about them. For instance, everyone knows that three board members resigned due to the old board’s “Toxic” nature, but do they know that last year, during COVID, we were one of the few districts in the state that increased student performance? That should be the headline!

Our values are centered around fiscal responsibility, academic achievement, equality of opportunity – not necessarily outcome, teaching how to think – not what to think, strong community engagement, personal accountability, and school pride. How would you help support these values as an elected member of the OASD?

Those values are my values also. I am pretty old fashioned that way. Reading, Writing and Arithmetic. I believe in making good choices, doing the right thing, etc. It is the way I was raised. For my campaign “Keep School Real vote for THIEL”, I have listed four main topics. They spell out the word REAL. They really mirror what you have for your values.

Realistic Spending: As enrollments continue to decrease, we can’t keep spending at the old levels. We need to decrease our spending and increase our market share in order to succeed.

Excellence: Excellence in everything we do. Our strategic plan is focused on being “Unrivaled” as a district. To do that we need great teachers, great schools, great students, and even a great school board.

Accountability: Do what you say you are going to do. As a board, we will set the agenda and then work to achieve that agenda. The sale of the Meadow View School is just one example.

Leadership: Not only serve on the school board but take a leadership role in the community and the district to truly drive success.

Why should I vote for you?

In summary, I hope by now you can get a feel for the way I do things, and I way I would like to continue to serve the district. As a board member I will work hard for parents to give your students a great education. Great students, it turns out, do great things for our community, their families, and our country. That is after all, what we all want, in the end.