Five candidates vie for two spots on school board
By Adam Hocking
MARSHFIELD — There are two open seats on the Marshfield School Board, and five candidates have filed to run for those spots. Current board member Pete Mancl will not run for re-election, but incumbent Amber Leifheit will run, and she will be joined on the ballot by Dale Yakaites, Dan Wald, Thomas W. Binder, and Mark Critelli.
There will be a primary vote on Feb. 16, which will reduce the field from five candidates to four heading into the April 5 election. School board members serve three year terms.
Wald is the chair of the Wood County Republican Party and is also on the Uniform Dwelling Code Council for the state of Wisconsin. Professionally, Wald is a product engineer with Wisconsin Homes.
Critelli was a school board member for six years until he was voted out in 2015 and will now attempt to regain a spot. He is a volunteer at his church, and professionally he is the regional director of rehabilitation for Greenfield Rehabilitation.
Leifheit is the current school board vice president. She served on the board from 2008-2011 and then again from 2013 to the present. She is also the executive director of the Marshfield Area Community Foundation, an organization that connects people in the community with causes to support.
Yakaites was a long-time teacher, administrator, and athletics coach in the Marshfield School District. After teaching at Marshfield Junior High — now known as Marshfield Middle School — from 1972-80, he taught English for 20 years at Marshfield High School. Following his teaching career, Yakaites was the district publications director, which he described as a public relations role, and also the district computer coordinator.
Binder was formerly a Wood County board supervisor and a town of Lincoln board supervisor. He is now retired, though he said, “I’m doing more now than I ever did.”
Incumbent school board member and treasurer Mancl, who served one term on the board, said that with all of the other community activities he is involved in, it was time for a new person to take his place. He added that he initially ran because he thought he could provide a service to the community.
“I figured when I ran, I didn’t figure I’d get elected No.1,” Mancl said. “I ran thinking that I could maybe help guide the school district in some ways that my constituents were kind of pushing me toward.”
Mancl added, “I kind of put a lot of time and effort into it (being a board member). I mean, I figured that’s why I was elected, so I better put some effort into it.”