Meet the Candidates

School Board Candidates
Don Engler
Unavailable for Comment

Patrick Goldammer

What experiences or skills have prepared you to serve as a board member?
I am a 2018 graduate of Waterford Union High School and am very in touch with student and teacher needs. In addition, I have experience being a younger member on a board. In the past I served as a youth member on the Racine County board through the Racine County Youth in Governance program. I also have experience listening to constituent needs, I spent a summer in Washington DC interning for our Congressman, Bryan Steil.  I’m very excited to bring these experiences to the board.

Why are you running for the School Board of Education? If elected, what will be your priorities?
I first decided to run because I believe that competitive elections bring out the best in everyone and unfortunately the school board hasn’t seen an election where voters have had a choice in a while. In addition, I have a unique perspective as a younger person that would greatly benefit both the high school and the community.

I want everyone in the community to know that if elected, I will be very accessible. Right now many people feel unheard, and are unaware of what is going on at the board level. I will always take the time to hear everyone out on any issue because I believe that is the main responsibility of a public servant. In addition to answering any questions people may have over email, I also plan on hosting monthly Q&A’s in an effort to keep the community updated about what’s going on.

I will work to increase our student’s chances of success after graduation by exposing them to more opportunities. No matter what a student’s post-high school plans are, whether it be: trade school, technical school, 4-year college, or any other type of employment, I will work to make them better prepared to face the “real world”.  I envision doing this by strengthening our partnership with technical colleges like Gateway, introducing students to apprenticeship programs, expanding our course offerings, and more.

For any student to have success they must also have great teachers. I believe that Waterford has high quality teachers and I will make it my mission to continue to support them.  Both keeping and hiring the best teachers, staff, administrators, and coaches is extremely important to me.

I will do this while keeping the tax payer in mind and making sure we stay fiscally responsible.

What are 2-3 strengths of which our district can be proud? Why do you see these as strengths?

I am very proud of the way that our students and teachers have handled the last year and the many challenges it presented. It is now our job as a board to allow them to feel a sense of “normal” they deserve. 

Historically, Waterford has had a very strong academic record, especially when it comes to state testing scores and AP exam results. Our scores and reputation are something to be proud of for the whole community. If elected I will work to maintain and improve our academic record.

Waterford has very strong extracurriculars. I am proud we continue to support so many great clubs and activities, including programs in the arts and athletics. I will continue to support these extracurriculars and am proud of our students for excelling in them.

What is your vision for education in the Waterford community?

My vision for education in the Waterford community is an education that gives our students a strong base for their future careers. In the future, I hope to take in more input from students, faculty, parents, and the community as a whole because if everyone is invested in our school’s success it will greatly benefit. I want our students to maximize their potential, in whatever they choose to pursue.

Please reach out to me if you have any questions at

Dennis Purtell

What experiences or skills have prepared you to serve as a board member?

For 27 years I've been an active parent in the education of my three children, ages 35, 32 and 21, as they progressed through the Waterford School system.  They performed at different academic levels and required different services, ranging from AP/Honors courses, to needing an Individual Educational Program.  All three have graduated from WUHS and have found success in college and technical schools and are building careers in banking/finance, construction management and the skilled trades.  Since moving to Waterford in 1994, I've attended / participated in a variety of school and community events from every parent-teacher conference, concert, cheer-leading competition and talent shows, to cub scouts, little league, youth football and soccer, and high school sporting events.

Personal:  Married 37 years to Nancy.  Bachelor's Degree with Teaching Certification from Central Michigan University.  Juvenile Probation Officer for Midland County Michigan Probate Court.  Law Degree from Thomas M. Cooley Law School.   Trial Attorney and Attorney Manager for 33 years at the Wisconsin State Public Defender's Office.  Currently serve as the Union High School Districts' representative for CESA 2.  Currently serve as Treasurer for East Troy Bible Church.

Why are you running for the School Board?  If elected, what will be your priorities?

The public school system is one of the most important institutions in the development of America and American society.  It follows that schools have an impact on the growth and development of individual communities.  I believe schools are most successful when there is parental involvement, community support and are staffed by persons with high integrity and a passion to impart that integrity to the next generation.  I love Waterford and want all students to have an opportunity to succeed and have a positive impact on whatever community they may eventually call home.  



  •             The Board must be a good steward of the tax dollars the District receives.


  •             The Board must maintain an outstanding and motivated teaching staff.


            WUHS is a high achieving school, but like every district, there is a learning gap across the student population.  A priority will be for the Board continue to implement strategies to raise the achievement level of everyone, including our lower performing students.  The 8 Drop 2 class schedule is a strategy that has proved successful in accomplishing this goal.


            The job market is ever changing, not every student seeks to attend a 4 year university.  It will be a priority to partner with local companies and technical colleges and continue to offer courses leading to careers in the skilled trades, agriculture, STEM and health care fields, to name a few.  To accomplish this, there must also be a priority to stay current with new technologies. 


            Curriculum: though every school district is subject to legislative and Department of Public Instruction mandates, the content of course materials, to the greatest extent possible, must be subject to local school board approval prior to its use.


            Continuing our efforts to contain health care costs through competitive bidding, wellness programs, pooling and partnering with other employers, both public and private.

What are 2-3 strengths of which our district can be proud?  Why do you see them as strengths?

First, the teaching staff.  Their energy, passion and enthusiasm is outstanding, as is their willingness to try new teaching models.  In statewide surveys our staff scores very high and are likely the main reason WUHS is the number one ranked high school in Racine County.  Their efforts are  also reflected in Waterford winning the Southern Lakes Academic Bowl for 11 straight years, winning music and performing arts awards and athletic competitions.

Second, support from parents, businesses and local government to see our young people succeed both in the classroom and in extra-curriculars. I believe that parental and community expectations, consciously and subconsciously, influence our students to excel in school and to care about their community.

Third, the leadership team: the district administrator, principal and vice principals are professional, encouraging and demanding of all the District's employees and each other.  They clearly communicate district goals and the path to achieving them.

Fourth, Waterford has maintained and updated its Tech Ed Programs and expanded it to include certification programs such as welding from Gateway Technical College.  Also, the Board's action to establish a “Trades Career Fair” for students and parents to learn of career opportunities from many local businesses and contractors.

Fifth, the District's finances are in a very sound position. 

What is your vision for education in the Waterford Community?

The vision is to have a school system that prepares our students to think critically, be informed citizens and successful in their choices following graduation, whether that choice is a university, community college, trade school / apprenticeship, the military or the work force.  To achieve this we need a school board:


            A.  That thinks critically and is a good steward of the tax dollars it receives.

            B.  Provides responsible and thoughtful oversight in setting district policy.

            C.  Focuses attention on the direct and measurable needs of the students.

            D.  Ensures decisions are made using reliable information about the impacts of those decisions.

            E.  Is welcoming and responsive to public comment and concerns.


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