By LeAnn R. Ralph
ELK MOUND — With 33 years of experience between them on the Elk Mound Board of Education, Jim Holte and Bill Moore retired from the school board in April.
Both Holte and Moore said they wanted to contribute to the community in a positive way and decided that serving on the school board would be a good opportunity.
Holte served on the Elk Mound school board for 18 years, and Moore served on the board for 15 years.
“The reason I ran was because I always thought the community was a strong supporter of schools, and I thought maybe I had something to offer in taking that forward. I actually had just completed a leadership training program with a group, and I was looking for something to be involved in. One of the things I have always enjoyed was our school system. And I thought if I had something positive to offer the school, I would really like to do that,” Holte said.
Moore also had children who attended school in Elk Mound.
“I had four girls in the school system, and I wanted to give something back to the community. There appeared to be some unrest and unsatisfied folks at that time, and I felt I could be of some good in getting the school board and public on the ‘same page’ working for the best interest of the kids,” Moore said.
“Something a little bit unique. My kids were well into high school when I ran, but I managed to run and get elected the same spring my oldest daughter graduated, so I was able to give each of my daughters their diplomas at their graduation,” Holte noted.
Tim Sivertson, president of the Elk Mound Board of Education, was re-elected in the April election.
Sivertson said at the May 19 staff appreciation luncheon at Elk Mound that Jim Holte “was the ultimate statesman.”
Holte served on a variety of committees, such as the scheduling committee, and Bill Moore served on the technology committee, Sivertson noted.
Holte also served as vice president of the school board.
“It was an honor to serve with them. They treated each other with respect, and they treated all of the board members with respect. For the board, it was an honor to work with them,” Sivertson said.
“As Tim said, working with this board has been enjoyable because even though we may disagree on things at times, we always respected each other, and after the decision was made, we moved forward. It’s easy to say that, but when it happens over and over again, it makes a difference on how successful the whole board is and for the school,” Holte said.
Moore summed up the school board’s success with one word: teamwork.
“The board, administration, staff, and community kept making great advances toward being one big ‘team.’ The team approach kept growing and improving to what it is today. The district has made leaps and bounds in the area of technology, and now the whole team is on board so future advances can keep moving forward,” Moore said.
“It was a great trip for 15 years, and much of the success was due to the board as a group working very well together. Five of the board members were there longer than I was. This made for a great working atmosphere because we all knew each other’s expectations and goals,” he said.
“We might not share the same opinion, but we respect the opinions of the others … And I think it impacts how our administrative team works together, how our teachers work together. An example is worth something,” Holte said.
“There have been very few things that I didn’t enjoy. The only time you didn’t enjoy the job was when you had to consider an expulsion hearing. … You knew you were going to make a decision that was going to impact a person’s life, and it’s hard to do that, but sometimes you have to consider it. That was my least favorite part of the job,” he said.
When asked why he decided not to run for election again, Holte said other commitments he had accepted made it the right time to retire from the Board of Education.
“I have taken on some responsibilities in another organization, which takes a lot of time. And I think it was twice this past year that I missed (school board) meetings, and I just don’t think that’s appropriate. I had to make a choice. And this was the right time to step away. We have two very good new board members, and I am confident they will be excellent members,” Holte said.
Holte serves as the president of Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation.
Mark Cedarblade and Patrick Rhude were elected to the Elk Mound Board of Education in the April 1 election.
When asked why he decided not to run again for election, Moore said it was for personal reasons.
“It was strictly personal. Our family business is taking more time due to the economy. My wife and I are both getting older and need to decide where we are headed with our lives. It was a lot of little things but I felt they would distract me from doing a good job on the board,” Moore said.
As for what comes next, Moore said he wants to “enjoy life and not work so hard. That is funny if you know what a business and farm life is all about.”
Dr. Ron Walsh, Elk Mound district administrator, noted that Holte and Moore both came to the Board of Education with backgrounds in farming.
“Jim had a dairy farm but has transitioned to beef cattle and crop farming. Jim also was selected, a bit over a year ago, as the president of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau. He took time each year to visit classes in each building and has been a great resource for the district’s curriculum committee. As part of this committee, he has helped each year with the design and building of the high school schedule,” Dr. Walsh said.
“Bill has a small horse farm. He grows crops for his horses. Bill is a retired engineer from Cray Research, and he brought wonderful insights about technology that he shared at the board level and as a long-standing member of our district’s technology committee,” he said.
“Both men were great at listening to issues and sharing their thoughts. They understood that as board members, they may not have voted the same way on various issues, but they knew how to support every decision as a board decision,” Dr. Walsh said.