L-R, Jennifer Bushman, Alex Sommers, and Miguel Campos file candidacy paperwork at Bliss Educational Services Center on Dec. 23. (Metro Wire photo)

Four challengers file for school board seats

By Brandi Makukski

Four challengers have announced their respective candidacies for the Stevens Point Area Public School Board of Education.

Kari Prokop. (Contributed)

Jennifer Bushman, Alex Sommers, Miguel Campos, and Kari Prokop all filed candidacy paperwork this week. Bushman, Sommers, and Campos, arrived at Bliss Educational Services Center on Wednesday as a group.

Prokop is a teacher in the Nekoosa School District but lives in Stevens Point with her husband and children.

Prokop said her passion for education is “inclusive of children, parents, teachers, educational assistants, custodians, food service staff, administration, taxpayers, and everyone who has a stake in the wellbeing of our public schools.”

Her campaign message is, “Focus on Education,” which she said means “keeping children in school while emphasizing basics and removing educational activism.”

“Everyone is valuable and has unique needs and perspectives. As a school board member, I will ensure that everyone has a voice,” Prokop said in a press release on Wednesday.

Sommers is a lifelong resident of the Stevens Point area, a graduate of UWSP, a teacher in the Rosholt School District, and a parent, and is mounting his second run for a seat on the Board. He previously applied for a vacancy left on the Board when Patricia Baker resigned after being appointed as Branch II Circuit Court Judge. The appointment was given to Rob Manzke in February.

Sommers said he believes students should be prepared for a strong future.

“Every opportunity should be taken to educate our children and to continually enhance learning experiences so that we can increase academic achievement and outcomes for all students,” he said. “I have spent over nine years of teaching and education is an integral part of my life.”

L-R: Alex Sommers, Jennifer Bushman, and Miguel Campos. (Contributed)

Bushman works for a global Fortune 20 organization as a director of talent management and leadership strategy. She lives in Stevens Point with her husband and three children.

“I have a strong passion for serving our community and when elected as a member of the Stevens Point School Board, I will be committed to promoting transparency and increased opportunities for connection and dialog between the board and the community,” Bushman said.

Bushman said she already demonstrates a “strong passion for community work” through her leadership roles in various local organizations. She has an M.A. in speech communication and a B.A. in English, and she said a large portion of her professional career in the Learning and Development space. She said she offers a “unique lens into the educational arena while understanding the desires of parents.”

Campos, a Stevens Point area resident since 2010 and a central Wisconsin resident since childhood, is a UWSP graduate and local entrepreneur. He works full-time as a senior business development manager at Berkshire Hathaway.

Campos said he’s interested in becoming more involved in the future of education in Stevens Point.

“I made the decision that now is the time to get more involved in the future of education, and for me, the best way to do that is by serving as a member of the Stevens Point School Board where I can work to ensure that we are laser-focused on closing achievement gaps and ensuring that students are successful,” he said.

Sommers, Bushman, and Campos are combining their campaign efforts toward the improvement of the Stevens Point Area Public School District. The trio is working under the campaign slogan “Accountability, Balance, Change,” which they say will result in “better outcomes for all children while remaining responsive to the needs of parents, teachers, and staff.”

The four are vying for four openings on the Board in the spring election.

Incumbents Jeffery Ebel, Rob Manzke, Barb Portzen have also announced they will seek another term.

The spring election will be on April 5, 2022.