Three vie for two School Board seats

Incumbent, first-time office seekers square off in race for three-year terms

Grafton School Board candidates (from left) Barry Jondahl, Jerry Rossi and John Scolman.
Ozaukee Press Staff

Three candidates are vying for two seats on the Grafton School Board election on Tuesday, April 3. 

Incumbent Jerry Rossi and newcomers Barry Jondahl and John Scolman are competing for the opportunity, as School Board President Terry Ziegler is not seeking re-election after 15 years on the board, including nine as president.

Rossi was appointed to the School Board in August, after former board member Julia McNally stepped down.

“Seven months has not been enough to scare me away,” Rossi said. “I’ve definitely enjoyed the experience and I’ve had no second thoughts about running again.”

Rossi was on the ballot in last year’s election, and he ran against Jondahl along with two other candidates in the special election last August.

All three candidates have children in the school district and say they want to maintain the quality of education Grafton schools provide.

Jondahl has lived in Grafton for more than 20 years, and said he is running because he wants to be involved in the community and to set an example for his daughter who is a junior at Grafton High School.

He said he could offer a fresh perspective to the School Board, through his experience as an information technology director and former chief information officer.

“I am not critical of the School Board, but there’s always room for improvement,” he said.

Scolman said he has a diverse background, which includes a master’s degree in education counseling psychology, four years of active duty in the U.S. Navy, and he is a business owner.

“Our schools’ greatest strength is our teachers and staffers. I would work towards equipping them with what they need to do their jobs well,” he said. “The skills that I bring are quite diverse and include but not limited to, my education, my experience as a business owner and public servant, and the insight that comes with being a full-time stay at home parent to my three daughters.”

Rossi cited Grafton as one of the best school districts in the state and said there’s no reason to settle for less. 

“I want our schools to keep getting better, and to increase the rigor for our students in order to provide them with more opportunities,” he said. “I don’t necessarily care about our ranking, I just want the students to get the best education possible.”

All three candidates want to improve student safety, especially after recent school shootings around the country.

Rossi is not in favor of arming teachers, but said he would like to have more school resource officers on the district’s premises and all school entrances secure, which was part of last year’s $39.9 million referendum plan for school facilities. 

Jondahl said he wants to have more surveillance cameras and tougher security protocols, noting he has expertise in electronic surveillance. 

“There’s definitely a focus on current events,” he said. “We need to focus on having a solid plan to protect our kids.”

Scolman said he would support additional staff members and caseworkers to meet the mental-health needs of students.

“My master’s of science education counseling psychology would help the board with this area of concern,” he said. “My experience as a security representative for the Air Force Reserve would be helpful in writing policy that would improve the safety of our students.

“I’d like to see entry control points at all of our schools, however, I don’t think arming teachers would be well received by our community.”

All three candidates said they want to support the teachers and staff in the school district, because they have the greatest impact on the students’ education.

School Board members are elected to three-year terms.




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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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