Silveria, Burke Win Madison School Board Seats

Veteran, Newcomer Ready To Tackle Major District Issues

MADISON, Wis. - Madison residents went to the polls on Tuesday to weigh in on the future of the city's schools.

In the race for two seats on the Madison Metropolitan School Board of Education, School Board President Arlene Silveria was reelected by a 65 percent margin over rival Nichelle Nichols while Mary Burke won a spot over Michael Flores, 61 percent to 39 percent.

Silveria and Burke face a flurry of major issues as they take their seats. The school board must convert the union contract into a handbook, search for a new superintendent and solve the headline-making disparate student achievement gap. Both women said that they're ready for the job ahead.

In keeping her seat on the school board, Silveira saidlistening is still the most important part of her job. Silveira said that she believes engagement with the community is the task ahead.

"The real key is to have that dialogue with the people in the schools on a daily basis," Silveira said.

Although she knows the heavy lifting is in the classroom, she said that figuring out the roadmap to innovative ideas won't be easy.

"I think that's part of, one of the challenges with the budget, like how do you use iPads in the classroom or even your personal cell phone, as many other districts are doing," she said.

Newcome Burke echoes the classroom-first approach.

"We do need to make sure that we have great teachers who feel supported. That's what's going to really drive student learning," Burke said.

She said she sees where students are slipping and need support to be stronger performers sooner.

"(A major issues is) early childhood literacy. I tutor twice a week over at Frank Allis School, and I see if we have a gap in reading at that age, it's only going to get bigger," she said.

For Silveira, she' said she will continue the role she has been serving in for the last six years. For Burke, it's jump in head-first. Her first meeting as a new school board member is now just a couple of weeks away. WISC-TV reported.

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