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Opinion: What Greendale Learned on Election Day

Opinion: What Greendale Learned on Election Day

Greendale voted on April 7. Here’s what we know…

Greendale wanted change, but not too much change in the school board. All four school candidates ran well with less than 500 separating the top from the bottom vote-getter.

I know that many community leaders and watchers (including at least some school board members) were predicting a Noelle Joers-Yanisch victory. It didn’t come to pass, she finished last behind Kathleen Wied-Vincent. The voters appear to have decided that change was better than the status quo or a familiar candidate.

Wied-Vincent and Joers-Yanisch both held their “victory” parties at the Panther Pub on April 7. I hope someone gave each of them a shout-out. Running for office is hard work. I hope they stay involved. Don’t forget why you ran in the first place.

Here’s a tip for the candidates: Take down those signs. Campaign yard signs that never get picked up annoy people.

John Comiskey deserves a hearty congratulations for his victory. He ran an effective campaign and represents a new generation. It will be a shift for a school board that has at least two long-serving members in grandparent territory. Change will produce anxiety among the current board members and it represents opportunity for a smart leader to build a new coalition.

The big winner in Tuesday’s election was John Tharp. True, the superintendent’s contract remains in question. It was put on the back burner by the previous board prior to the election. Will it now regain its front burner status? Will the board suddenly reverse course and actually renew his contract? There are strong headwinds in both directions and a character trait of this board is to appear rudderless.

Where does this leave current members of the administrative team who have pushed against Tharp? They now have one new board member that is closely aligned with Tharp — at least for now. It wouldn’t be surprising for some familiar faces to be leaving the district by July 1.

Comiskey’s win also shows that there is traction in youth sports. Again, think generational change.

In the case of Joe Crapitto, it appears the voters chose continuity over drastic change. He seems likely to retain the president’s gavel. It will be an opportunity for Crapitto to clean up some of the messes he helped create.

Over at Village Hall, popular incumbents Al Sikorski and Sally Chadwick cruised to victory over a newcomer.

I don’t know anything about Village board candidate Lauren Kinter. I didn’t see a single campaign sign and never got a flyer. She didn’t participate in the candidate forum and she declined an interview with both Everything Greendale and GreendaleNOW. She wasn’t a serious candidate.

However, the fact that she tallied 830 votes against two long-time incumbents is notable. Was a vote Kinter a vote for “none of the above” or a vote for change?

Jim Birmingham won the Village top slot with Soviet era numbers. Despite his daring heroics in the capture of the “broad street burglar” even John Hermes couldn’t have beaten Birmingham on Tuesday.

I’m confident that Birmingham will bring some change and fresh air to Village board meetings. However, the Village still faces some serious challenges.

I didn’t get a chance to make any of the “victory” parties on Tuesday. I was still waiting for election results at 11:15 p.m. That is way past my bedtime. Greendale was one of the last communities to report their results. I’m sure Village Hall was dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s on their election count.

That’s a good thing, People were clearly paying attention to this election.

A Parting Gif


About The Author

Bill Attewell

Bill Attewell is the editor and publisher of Everything Greendale. He has over 20 years experience as an award-winning newspaper editor, writer and publisher. His work has been read in in over 50 publications across the U.S. and abroad. Bill is a long-time resident of Greendale and a Greendale High School alum. Go Panthers!


  1. Emma

    I must say that I am surprised and disappointed by the outcome of the school board election. I was truly hoping that Noelle Joers-Yanisch would have been chosen by the voters. She showed objective understanding of the issues, and is more than qualified to make the tough decisions that lie ahead for our schools. She understands the division in the administrative ranks, and was the best candidate to move things forward. She sees the effects of a lack of vision, and was ready to lead the community to re establish direction. I think the Greendale Voters will regret passing her up.

    I hope that Joe Crapitto can take leadership by the horns and control the many challenging issues that the Board will face. Normally the Superintendent is the master of this task. Unfortunately, our current superintendent hasn’t been. The result has been the blowing up of issues into controversies that take away from the school’s true purpose. Joe is capable of doing this. I hope he takes a more assertive path from here forward.

    Will John Comiskey be able to put aside his “Teacher” hat and take an objective view of issues? Will he let the Greendale staff work without pressure of becoming Oak Creek’s western affiliate? As a teacher in a neighboring and comparable district, Does he have a conflict of interest when it comes to negotiating salaries (the school’s biggest expense)? Now that he will have access to all of the closed door meeting notes on the superintendent, can he (and his family) put aside his personal friendship with the Superintendent (and family) and make objective decisions about the leadership of the District? John Comiskey is an intelligent and nice guy, but I doubt that too many voters knew of his multiple conflicts of interest.

    I think both of the elected board members have the potential of guiding our schools to future success. But I have my worries as well. I’m surprised that the voters didn’t see the fact that Noelle Joers-Yanisch had the skills and vision to take care of our schools. I hope that Noelle Joers-Yanisch doesn’t give up on our village. We need her more than she needs us.

    • GSD Ed.

      The election was won by the teachers and parents. Mr Cominkey has every right and a duty to do what he and we his supporters believe in. He won.

      We expect Mr Crapitto to do as he has previously. It worked for him and he got more votes then any of the others.

      We will not be unrepresented and will have teachers heard and appreciated. Union and non union.

    • WI Mother

      Emma,, Must totally disagree with you on Noelle. Her past campaigns tell it all. She is NOT qualified for any of the campaigns she was in, and it showed. She lost all. Noelle is not an out-going, public figure, and has some failures in that regard. A nice individual, but not suited for running for a political office. Sorry. (and the voters have shown that in the past in all her campaigns).
      As to Mr. Comiskey, many, many of us knew of his “conflicts of interest” but guess that did not matter. That is a great concern to many residents.

    • Richard

      Maybe one of the two school trusties that have close to 25 years of time each on that board would step down from their position and the board would appoint Mrs. Yanish. She had their support for what that was worth – coming in last. And the people spoke loudly didn’t they?

      Instead of their “quiet support” for her candidacy what they could do for all of us is to resign and give here a chance. They can’t like what the people think of them now.

    • Kim Kowalczyk

      Emma, I have to agree with you that John Comiskey WILL NOT be objective when it comes to teacher salaries or in his case youth sports. As a former candidate in the primary and as a parent with a child at College Park, I am very concerned. So, if any board members are reading this, and I know some of you do, I will be watching every move this board makes. To GSD Ed, whoever you are and if you even work for this district, hard to say since you “hide” behind an “egg” get ready to take the ride of your life, It’s going to be quite bumpy!

  2. GSD Ed.

    We think things will heat up next week after Easter Break. Something has to give.

    • WI Mother

      Richard.. Mrs. Yanish has not, and will not, win an election. Look at her track record. The residents speak. She has the least qualifications for public office and the voters know that.

      • GSD Ed.

        The board members sided with Her because they could control her. John Comiskey beat her and the school board with the backing of teachers and parents. We voted, won and have an even better school board than before April 1. We want those old board members.

  3. The Conservative Voter

    I’m not sure there is any big winner/loser in the School Board race. I’m not convinced that this vote changes the nature of the Board/CEO relationship, although putting a member on the Board who is an unabashed cheerleader for the CEO will make the closed session contract buy-out discussions a lot more interesting. What the election does say is that you need to have a support group, or a distinguishing idea, to get elected. Mr. Comiskey and Mrs. Comiskey targeted young parents, particularly those with children involved in athletics. For better or for worse, he took a position on an issue and distinguished himself from the others. I know that Joers-Yanisch and Weid worked hard on their campaigns and spent considerable resources. However, I can’t say that they attracted any particular voters or voter groups. They were just present without anything making their candidacies unique. Ultimately, you have to represent someone or something (veterans, tax-payers, parents, teachers). Frankly, if any of the candidates would have come out stronger for change of the CEO, they would have done better.

    Think about this: Joers-Yanisch and Weid only got a few hundred more votes that a candidate for Trustee who basically quit shortly after putting her name in the race…

    • Richard

      Astute analysis from the Conservative Voter. The shining star point is that a trustie must stand for something and too many of the current ones and the candidates take no stand.

      Of course other than to collect their $4,100 pay check for public service.

      • WI Mother

        So right, TCV.. Noelle & Weid had nothing to give to the campaign except getting their names out, and that did not work. Campaigning means giving out ideas, substance, changes, etc. and they had none. One wonders why as both have run many races in the past.

  4. Richard

    The CEO is the big winner. The management team is all looking for new positions out of Greendale. The CFO is retiring and there is no “public” plan to replace her. The gardens are being planted. Word on Southway is a chicken coop is also going up behind the high school to raise chickens for the nutriious lunch being supervised by a 45,000 a year consultant from Maryland and crony of Mrs. Green.

    The CEO has run rings around the school trusties and they and he are now in lock step breaking policy the school trusties approve and think is enforced when in reality it is ignored. They have no courage to do anything. Instead, they pray he will get a new job. Why should he? He has it made in Greendale School System and will be rebuilding his management team checks out.

    • Parent

      I’ve also heard management/principals are unhappy. They’re the ones who’ve kept the district running since Tharp came. I’m worried that he will have no idea how to put together a good management team if/when they leave, or that people will even want to come work for the district once they read any comments here!

      • Richard


        Maybe the school trusties need to start leading and taking a stand. They need to decide on the CEO. If he stays, they are going to lose much of their management team. If he leaves, they may not but they may leave if they don’t like what they see.

        The chickens are not just coming to a coop behind the G House to serve the meal program. The chickens are coming home to roost for the trusties and the management team.

        The tension is palatable between the management team and the CEO.

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