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Why Michael Mishlove Resigned from the Shorewood School Board

A member of the board for more than six years, Mishlove said there's no one reason he decided to step down, but the dynamics associated with a new board contributed.

There's no individual reason he came to the decision to tender his resignation from the Shorewood School Board, an emotional Michael Mishlove said this week.

"There's no way for me to articulate it in such a way that captures the essence of what was going on," he said.

However, Mishlove, who in an email to board colleagues and school administrators formally resigned from his seat on Saturday after more than six years, said changes on the board made the work not as enjoyable.

"I invested myself and immersed myself completely in the work I was doing for the School Board, and I enjoyed it immensely, but toward the end, it was a new School Board and the dynamic that emerged and developed was one in which I came not to have as much enjoyment in what I was doing," he said. "Life is too short. When you find yourself doing something you don't enjoy, you need to move on.

"I'm a guy who spent 15 years in college and I'm very passionate about rigorous education," he said. "And, I was passionate about maintaining that in the Shorewood schools."

Paul Zovic, the School Board president for more than a decade, decided not to seek re-election in April 2012. David Cobb won the election for the seat. Rob Reinhoffer was chosen as the new president and Colin Plese became the new vice president.

He said the only regret he has from his time on the board was cutting Spanish education for some elementary school grades, and is glad he won't be on the board when it examines teacher retirement benefits other than pensions.

"I'm very relieved to get off the board before the post-retirement benefits for teachers gets eviscerated," he added. "I see that on the horizon. I believe public school teachers should have retirement benefits and I'm very glad I'm not going to be here when that day comes."

With public schools forced to find ways to operate with less funding, Mishlove said he's proud of the way the board tackled budgetary issues.

"My years on the board were hardly halcyon times for the school district," he said. "It was six-and-a-half years of reduced state aid and trying to do more with less. And I think we did a pretty damn good job, doing just that."

He said he had a personality on the board, and when he was newly elected to the board, the information presented to the board was inadequate, "mush" and lacking details. 

"I always cut to the chase about it, and asked about it directly and very genuinely in a straightforward manner and people aren't used to that, and I think it ruffled a lot of feathers," he said. "I think over the six years I was on the board, the bar was raised in respect to the quality of information that the board came to expect and demand from administrators or whoever else was presenting to us."

He added he believes it has led to better decision-making and greater transparency.

Plese said the board has seen a lot of changes recently and he's sorry to see Mishlove leave.

"He was integral in labor negotiation, with teachers specifically," he said. "He was instrumental in policy development and I joined that committee when I came on the board and he taught me a lot going through policy and looking at it very critically."

Reinhoffer echoed Plese's comment, in a prepared statement on Wednesday.

“I would like to thank Michael for his service to the school district and to the Shorewood community and in particular for his expertise in labor negotiations and school board policy updating," he said.

How will the district fill the vacancy?

The district announced Wednesday it would begin to accept applications for the open seat.

The board will review the procedure to fill the vacancy and discuss the skills and attributes it will seek in applicants at its next regular meeting slated for Nov. 13.

Officials will then collect résumés, conduct interviews and select a candidate at a meeting on Dec. 11.

That new board member will be required to run again for the seat, if they decide to, in April.

Kim Grady, superintendent’s office secretary, explained three seats will be up for election and the person who finishes third will essentially fill Mishlove's seat and continue to complete his term, which ends in April 2014. At that point, that board member’s seat will once again be up for re-election for a three-year term.

Applicants must be adult residents of Shorewood and must submit a letter of interest to Mr. Marty Lexmond, Superintendent, c/o Shorewood School District 1701 E. Capitol Dr., Shorewood, WI 53211. Letters must be postmarked no later than Nov. 30.

N. Peske November 02, 2012 at 12:02 PM
I want to thank Michael Mishlove for his service. Indeed, the budget issues alone in the last several years have been challenging to tackle. I appreciate all the board members' hard work in trying to keep our schools at the highest level of quality.
George Mitchell November 02, 2012 at 02:32 PM
If one looks at the long-term funding trend, Shorewood and virtually every public school district in WI has had a sizeable increase in real per pupil spending. The complaints about budgets in recent years are the equivalent of an upper middle class family griping that its income has not risen lately. Fortunately Scott Walker and Act 10 will let Shorewood and other districts cope.
Wonderful Life November 02, 2012 at 03:28 PM
Mr. Mishlove was a detail oriented proponent of good decision making in efforts to provide the most quality education for our childeren. He wasn't a yes man and many times found himself alone out on a limb. This district needed him. I can think of many instances where his intense questioning regarding a project or an idea vetted out numerous and potential consequences. Thanks, Mishlove. You did a good job.
Jenny Heyden November 02, 2012 at 05:44 PM
I will miss his candor and ability to stop moving trains in order to ask key questions. Thank you, Mr. Mishlove, for such a long, dedicated and informed length of service to Shorewood and its schools.
Keith Schmitz November 03, 2012 at 02:36 AM
Act 10 going to stop rising health care costs George. Or are we just going to pay teachers less?
Joe Peterlin November 03, 2012 at 05:19 PM
Any legislation imaginable will never stop rising health care costs Keith. If you believe so, you are only deluding yourself. Name an item that costs the same as it did ten years ago, twenty years ago, in any country in the world. Public employees will need to learn to pay themselves first, as any other non-public employee is in process of learning. Unless of course, you have a method for reversing the rotation of the earth on its' axis.
Gail Juszczak January 27, 2014 at 01:00 PM
Thanks so much for sticking up for students and educators in our state. I just retired after 34 years of teaching because of the situation of government in our state. Way to go Mike! (Formally Gail Mishlove)

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