2015 school board candidates

Three candidates ran for one school board seat, which necessitated a primary election to eliminate one candidate. David Cobb chose not to stand for re-election.

This election took place yesterday, February 17, significantly after Ripples went to press. The regular election, date and time to be determined, will select which of the two winners of the primary election will join the school board.

courtesy Rodney Cain
courtesy Rodney Cain

Cain hopes to bring focus to board 

Rodney Cain has decided to run for a position on the Shorewood School Board. Cain, resident for the past four and a half years, has two daughters, Rowan, 1st grader, and Piper, 3rd grader, in the multi-age program at Atwater Elementary. The Cain family moved to Wisconsin from North Carolina, and according to Cain, it was the schools that brought the family to Shorewood. Cain is running for the open school board seat to give back to the community.

“The school board, for me, is a way to give something back and invest more of my time here in the community, and the schools are going to be a big part of our lives for a long time,” Cain said.

Since graduating with a degree in secondary education of biology from Miami University in Ohio, Cain has worked in the healthcare industry.

“[I] work to bring together people, individuals, organizations, hospitals, doctors; [people] who are often competitors, who have very different goals, [but] together do the right thing,” Cain said.

Cain hopes to use his experience to bring people in the Shorewood School District as one.

“I think I can serve our community in a similar capacity. Again, it’s not that there aren’t things we’re going to work through, it’s how we do it,” Cain said.

Cain said that one of the district’s strong suits is the sense of community. When picking schools for their children, Cain said he and his wife were impressed with the intermingling of students and the communal aspect of the schools. At the same time, Cain has acknowledged that there are some areas for improvement within the district.

“There’s potential uncertainty with funding from the state … There are certainly needs to do some work on curriculum,” Cain said.

According to Cain, the district should not back down from these issues, but rather attack them.

“One of the ways we define ourselves in Shorewood is the way we deal with problems,” Cain said.

Aside from solving problems, Cain wants to continue furthering the school district’s progressive nature.

“[I want Shorewood to be] a place people want to move, people want to live, where teachers want to come and teach, [a place] administrators see … as a pinnacle of their career.”

Cain looks forward to being able to improve the district by working hand in hand with other board members, community members and faculty members.

“The one thing I would just hope [the voters] take away is that my style is to really improve the relationships [within the district], and to be collaborative, to be transparent, to be inclusive. That’s how I’ll conduct myself certainly on the board, and the focus will always be on what’s best for the kids,” Cain said. “The work is really about improving and making sure that we’re giving all of the kids in our district all that they need. Ultimately, everything else is secondary.”

by Olivia Holbrook

courtesy Gregg Davis
courtesy Gregg Davis

Davis aims to improve relations

Gregg Davis is a candidate in the upcoming school board election. He wants the school board to implement purposeful analysis before action when faced with an issue and is prepared to address teacher’s concerns.

Citing a recent teacher satisfaction survey, Davis points out that while teachers expressed satisfaction working in Shorewood schools, they also reported concern that the district administration failed to communicate the purpose of many initiatives they asked teachers to implement. These included Response to Intervention (RtI), Positive Behavioral Intervention & Support (PBIS), Common Core testing and the integration of technology into the classroom.

Regarding Common Core, Davis says the district could better align the curriculum to the Common Core standards. He expresses concern that the test is now entirely computerized, which may be an obstacle to students who lack keyboarding skills.

Davis said he suggests that staff and administration take a sample of the test to judge its accuracy as well as wait to see how other states that have implemented Common Core standards longer than Wisconsin.

In regards to the achievement gap, Davis believes that while the school can take some measures to address the issue but cautions that even putting large amounts of time and money into the issue may only result in minor gains statistically.

“From what I’ve read research-wise, a school can have some affect on achievement gap, but the main driver of it  is poverty and a student’s home situation,” Davis said.

Davis also says that enrollment and residency issues need to be dealt with strictly.  “I was not going to run if David Cobb had decided to run,” said Davis. “From being at all these board meetings the past couple years, I felt like he was one of the only ones on that board who was really asking the tough questions that needed to be asked and holding the administration’s feet to the fire when [the board] needed to. Since he didn’t run, I felt we still needed to have that kind of voice,” Davis said.

Davis, age 49, moved to Shorewood from Chicago five years ago to work in information technology at

BMO Harris Bank. He lives with his wife, a Lake Bluff library aid, and son Ben Davis, junior.

Davis graduated from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor with a degree in political science and history.

“We came here especially because of the schools. It was the only place we looked when I got my job here,” Davis said.

While Davis was living in Chicago, he served as a member of two different local school boards for a total of eight years. After moving to Shorewood, Davis said he attended nearly every school board meeting. Additionally, he was also on the committee that aimed to find a replacement for former SHS principal, Matt Joynt. Additionally, Davis is currently serveing on the curriculum committee.

by Nora Klein

courtesy Nate Cade
courtesy Nate Cade

Cade wants to bring new perspectives, opinions to school board

Nate Cade is a candidate in the current school board election.

As a lawyer, Cade practices litigation and defense, as well as estate planning, criminal work and basic corporate law.

Cade believes he would be a good addition to the school board because currently there are no lawyers on the board.

“I think lawyers look at things a little differently than most people; we tend to look at it with a critical eye and are generally dispassionate, so we don’t let emotion get to us,” Cade said.

Cade also says that, as a lawyer, he is able to read and analyze documents quickly.

He also has a strong connection to the district as a father of three students, in 8th, 6th and 4th grades. His wife is very active in SEED and he is already a member of the school board finance committee.

“Next year I will have kids in all three schools, so I can look at it from that perspective,” Cade said.

Cade would also like to head the finance committee, and try to secure some deficit issues that the school has faced in the past by implementing controls that allow for the school to predict what costs they will face over the year based on past experience, so that healthcare and energy costs are the only variables.

Cade has also worked for college admissions at the University of Pennsylvania so he believes that he knows what elite colleges are looking for. Cade wants to use this knowledge to shape the curriculum for the future, a process that is a hot topic in current board meetings.

“I think Shorewood is a great school district; the question is how do we get to the elite status,” Cade said. “It is possible to get public schools up to that level, and I think I bring that perspective to make that possible.”

Among the ways to obtain this elite status, Cade believes that freshmen should be taking algebra and biology in order to truly emphasize the STEM curriculum initiative that the school has taken on.

Another important issue is the overcrowding at schools throughout the district, primarily at the elementary schools. There may be no short term solution, but Cade believes that in the long term, the board should survey the community to predict the number of residents being born and survey religious schools with students who may enter the district, in order to judge the situation more accurately.

“We as a district need to start asking if the [number of students we allow in] is too high. We just have to use the best information available,” Cade said.

Financially, Cade hopes that the district can reanalyze the benefits given to teachers and find ways that are non-budget oriented to give incentives to the teachers, so that they want to come to and stay in Shorewood. Cade also wants the aides in the district to get insurance.

“These are the people we trust with teachers while there are kids in the classroom, and we tell them that they’re not good enough for health insurance. I know there’s a cost but as a district we should be saying if we trust them that much, then we have to do something better,” Cade said.

He also hopes to eliminate RtI to devote resources to struggling kids and allow teachers to have more time in class to teach the intended curriculum.

Cade aims to change the culture of Shorewood schools for the better with a conscientious approach and believes he is the most qualified candidate to make that happen.

“I’ve been to every single school board meeting this past year, and I don’t see my opponents there … This isn’t a part time gig: It’s a new job, and I’m all in,” Cade said.

by Monica Dix

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