My Northern Wisconsin

Covering Ashland, Iron, Lincoln, Oneida, Price, Rusk, Sawyer, Taylor, and Vilas Counties


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Authorized and paid for by Justin Lindgren.

Justin Lindgren grew up in Rhinelander but his roots are in Phillips.  His great grandparents came to America from Slovakia, settling into a farm east of Phillips.  Throughout his childhood, Justin enjoyed spending his summers in Phillips at that farm, then owned by his grandparents, Paul and June Pilch.  "I loved being in Phillips," Justin shared, and his love of the community continued into adulthood.

Upon high school graduation, following in the footsteps of his mother, Linda Lindgren; sister, Becci Lallemont; great aunts, Ruth Pilch & Anna Dureno; cousin, Andy Pilch; and other family members, Justin got his college degree in education.  He worked in Ely, Minnesota for eight years, but the love of Phillips called him back to the area, and he took a teaching position in the School District of Phillips for twelve years.  During those years, he was the coach for middle school cross country and high school track and field, plus he worked at the community pool, in the grocery store, and at a gas station.  He is currently working in the Public Works Department for the City of Phillips while continuing to advance toward a degree in Education Administration through UW-Superior.  He remains active in the community by participating in the various races and other events offered, plus he has been involved with the Northwoods Players productions either as an actor, conductor, or director.

Justin said, "My experiences have provided me great insight into the Phillips School District from multiple perspectives.  I have a strong knowledge base on the role of a school board member and education administration.  To best serve as a school board member, I believe it is important to have a balance of school system knowledge and an openness to hear from everyone in the community.  My involvement in the community, as a teacher and an active community member, has helped me to build this balance that I would intend to apply if elected to the board."

Justin went on to state that the environment in the Phillips School District has changed drastically in the recent past.  "The students, in my experience, are not happy.  The staff members are not happy.  Morale is at one of its lowest points in the memory of a lot of the staff who have been there for many years.  We all agree that the direction the school district is headed is not one that a lot of us can agree with, and that's why you see this massive turnover in teachers and staff all of a sudden.  We have kids that are leaving the district in larger numbers to do things like online school and things like that, which the school district is still responsible for financially, so we end up paying money out for the students to have other teachers, not even ours, and that's not fiscally responsible.  The frustrating part is that the school board has not looked into any of this, and they are surprised when told morale has been extremely low."  Justin wonders why the school board members are not asking the staff for feedback to bring a resolution to the issues within the school district.  He feels there is a disconnect between the school board, administration, parents, students, and the community, and he would like to work to correct that if elected as a school board member.

"The school and the community need to be very connected, and I feel there is a big disconnect between the school and community, which benefits neither."

"Phillips once had some of the longest longevity in regard to teachers but that is not the case anymore."  Justin stated the turnover, hiring of people who do not have education degrees, low morale among staff, and other factors do not create a stable environment.  "The students deserve a stable education, and right now things are not stable.  The staff needs to feel supported instead of being afraid of facing retaliation if they speak up and ask questions."

"Phillips is a wonderful place and has a lot to offer.  But with the things going on in the school and people just being extremely frustrated with it, that doesn't bode well for our community.  We need to be on the same page; we need to function as a cohesive unit.  There needs to be that transparency between the district and the town with 'what are we doing' and 'why are we doing it.'  We need to feel confident in our leadership.  We need to feel we can talk to people in the school.  We need to feel that the people in the school are talking to us.  There has been that disconnect for the last few years."

Justin feels he is qualified to be a school board member because he has been a teacher and is currently working on a degree in education administration.  He feels he has the insight on both sides to see what needs to be fixed.  He is calling for change, transparency, and communication on the school board.  "I have spent the past 12 years serving both the community and the school district, and I would be honored to have the opportunity to continue this."  Justin Lindgren is asking for your vote on April 2nd.  You can learn more about Justin via his Facebook page.

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(This post was last modified: 03-25-2024, 02:28 PM by My Northern Wisconsin.)