Kent Ellickson, Director of Finance and Business Services, School District of Onalaska
Kent Ellickson Résumé
Thank you for taking the time to review the candidate biographies. I am pleased to step forward with my candidacy for WASBO President-Elect. The WASBO organization has been a very important part of my professional life since becoming a school business manager in 2001. Each of our recent WASBO presidents has discussed the importance of giving back to the organization and pointed out that as we do so, we get something in return. This certainly has been my experience with WASBO. I am thankful a colleague gently encouraged my increased involvement with WASBO early on in my career. Because of the tremendous growth of WASBO to over 1,600 members from a variety of positions and locations, we need to continue to evolve through increased involvement in the organization, including its diverse committees.
Over the years I have enjoyed participating in WASBO through a variety of ways. Currently, I am serving a "fourth" consecutive year on the board as I am filling a special one-year appointment consecutive to completion of a "regular" three-year term. These years have gone fast and the reward from participation has been way more than I ever imagined. I encourage those who have been actively involved in WASBO to consider taking that next step and run for the Board sometime in the future.
This winter I am looking forward to participating in the ASBO Leadership Training Academy with other members of the current Board. My previous involvement in WASBO includes completing the training and serving as a mentor in the WASBO mentorship program, serving as a WASBO representative on the Joint Convention Committee, volunteering to present on school finance at a WASB New School Board Member workshop, serving on the WASBO Scholarship Committee, and serving as an Investing in Wisconsin Public Schools facilitator.
One specific activity that helped me appreciate the character and collaboration of our organization was involvement in the School Finance Puzzle during its first years. I was proud to work with fellow WASBO members, DPI staff, UW-Whitewater personnel, and WASBO staff in the earliest years of the School Finance Puzzle half-day workshop at the Joint Convention. They made it fun to co-chair this initiative each year as we worked together to review and evaluate the previous year's presentation, update it, make preparations for organizations of the current year's session, and interact with the attendees at the convention.
Currently I am in my second year in the School District of Onalaska serving as the Director of Finance. I appreciate working in a district with both the board and administration embracing and functioning as true Professional Learning Community. Just prior to Onalaska I was the Director of Business Services in the Sparta Area School District for 10 years.
My earliest years as a school business administrator were in Southern Wisconsin. Before moving "back home" to Western Wisconsin, I worked in the school districts of Cambridge, Deerfield, and Clinton. Initially the Cambridge and Deerfield positions were combined through a cooperative agreement between the districts. I was fortunate to be offered the opportunity to be the first school business manager in the Clinton Community School District as my first business manager position.
Prior to serving as a school business manager, I was a business education teacher for more than 10 years in the School District of Lodi. As a business teacher, I experienced the elementary through high school teaching experience - with an added bonus of teaching adult evening classes for Madison Area Technical College. This was an excellent foundation for an embedded permanent reminder about the purpose of our work as school business officials.
The current board has been devoted to improving the organization through transitioning to policy governance and maintaining commitment to long-range strategic planning. I look forward to an opportunity to help the board continue to move in the same direction as the organization strives to meet the professional needs of our colleagues. It has been an honor to serve with my peers on the board.