Jim Johnson, 28 year member of Winneconne Community School District Board, will step down in April. – News photo
A Bittersweet Goodbye for Jim Johnson
School board member will step down in April
Six candidates are vying for three open seats on the Winneconne Community School District’s Board of Education on April 3, one of which is being vacated by Jim Johnson, the board’s longest standing member.
Johnson, a 28-year member, will teleconference in to his last meeting April 2, due to a planned vacation, and he recently recalled some of the highlights and memories as a board member.
It’s been a 28 year tenure. What prompted you to join the board that many years ago?
Johnson: “What got me interested was my son, who was a freshman, wanted to take a course that was only offered to sophomores, and was told he couldn’t. I decided to approach the board and was able to get the board to allow five freshmen to take it. I decided then that I wanted to keep going and become an advocate for giving kids these types of opportunities.”
Being a school board member is a huge commitment of time. What inspired you to serve for so long?
“Well, I originally said, ‘I’ll try it for a few years,’ but as the years passed on, the more I enjoyed it. As a board member, I believe it’s about helping individuals to grow and learn…that’s what we are here for. I’ve really enjoyed being part of that. I have not always enjoyed it, but have always kept the community and the students/district at the forefront of my mind – I’ve always tried to do what’s best.”
What are some of the most memorable moments you’ve experienced as a board member?
“It’s hard to pick out any one thing. This may sound silly, but putting lights on the football field was a big deal back then, building the new high school, implementing enrichment classes for students, and being part of bringing in new administrators has been big.”
Why step down now?
“Well, partly because the last five years or so have been stressful. Referendums, regulations from the state, and closing the Winchester school…these issues have all put stress on the district. Closing that Winchester school, though, was the toughest decision I ever had to make as a board member. I’m really just ready for a break.”
Is it bittersweet to leave the Board?
“I will definitely miss it; it’s actually very difficult for me. These people on the board become like family after that many years…but I need a rest from it.”
Sum up your feelings about the Winneconne Community School District:
“I really believe we have one of the better districts in the area. We have great administrators, teachers, and a support staff that have shown real professionalism in the recent past and I’m very proud of that.
Johnson, who is ready for a break, admitted that Nancy, his wife, has been ready for him to “take a break” for a few years now. They have made their home in this area since 1975 or 76 and plan to continue to do so. Both of their adult sons are graduates of Winneconne High School.
He does plan to stay active in the district through volunteering. Thank you, Jim, for your years of service and dedication!
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