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By LeAnn R. Ralph
ELK MOUND — Four candidates will be on the ballot for two positions on the Elk Mound Board of Education in the April 6 election.
Incumbent school board members Gary Bodenburg and Mark Oas will face challengers Mark Levra and Michael Jenson Jr.
Bodenburg and his wife, Peggy, have five children who have graduated from Elk Mound High School. Two of their grandchildren currently attend Mound View Elementary.
Recently retired, Bodenburg is a graduate of Phillips High School and earned a bachelor’s degree from UW-Eau Claire.
Bodenburg currently serves as the treasurer of the school board and is the legislative representative who updates the members monthly on state legislative issues that affect education. He also serves as the school board delegate at the annual state convention for the Wisconsin Association of School Boards. He serves on the Elk Mound Board of Education’s policy and compensation committees as well.
This past year, teachers, support staff and administrators have surpassed all expectations by giving students an amazing education despite all the hurdles and struggles they faced personally and professionally with the rigid COVID restrictions, he said.
Oas, age 44, is married to his wife, Sarah, and they have one son, Ethan, who is a sophomore at Elk Mound High School.
Oas has been a chiropractor for about 20 years and has had his own practice for 16 years. He is a graduate of Elk Mound High School and completed most of his undergraduate education at Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota. Oas received his Bachelor of Science in Human Biology and his Doctor of Chiropractic degrees from Northwestern Health Sciences University in Bloomington, Minnesota.
After serving two terms on the school board, Oas said he believes he can serve the public interest well.
The important part about serving on an institutional board such as a school board is cooperation and understanding all points of view. Whether you are a student, a parent, a teacher, an administrator, or a taxpayer — all interests must be listened to and served, he said.
Levra, age 45, has been married to his wife, Tammy July Levra, for 20 years (21 in May). She is employed as the Executive Director of the Dunn County Housing Authority.
The Levras have two children who both attend school in the Elk Mound Area School District. Ethan is a senior at Elk Mound High School and Lydia is a freshman.
Levra serves as the Director of Public Works for the Village of Elk Mound and also is an adjunct instructor at Chippewa Valley Technical College.
He is a graduate of Hurley High School in 1994 and joined the United States Army Reserve and served eight years as a 51B, Carpentry/Masonry Specialist. Levra attended UW-Stout and graduated with a bachelor of science degree in Construction in December of 1999. He has completed multiple certificate courses in Fire Science through Chippewa Valley Technical College and is currently an IFSAC Certified FFII with the Elk Mound Fire District.
Levra said he believes new thoughts and views are needed in the Elk Mound Area School District leadership.
His goals as a board member are to ensure the district continues to improve and provide quality education; to advocate for the community and students because they should be heard and acknowledged; to make efficient use of resources; and to update policies that are allowing for legitimate issues to be ignored.
Jenson, age 36, is married to his wife, Jenny. They have two children, a son, Michael III, age 17, and a daughter, Kylee, age 14.
A graduate of Elk Mound High School, Jenson is a dairy farmer. He also is a graduate of Chippewa Valley Technical College.
Jenson says he is a fresh face with new ideas, and although he truly values tradition, he believes it is time for change.
One of Jenson’s concerns is that the Elk Mound school district does not have the same “small school” quality as it did when he graduated from Elk Mound.
He also is concerned about the turn-over in school staff.
Four incumbents will be on the ballot April 6 for four positions on the Elk Mound Village Board.
Incumbent Village President Steven A. Abraham will be joined on the ballot by incumbent Village Trustees Deborah Creaser-Kipp, Terry Stamm and Jesse J. Jenson.