Boots & Sabers

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1001, 06 Jan 16

Liberal Activist West Bend Teacher Put on Leave

Tanya Lohr, an aggressive liberal activist and teacher in the West Bend School District, has been put on leave. Here’s the statement from the union:

Tanya Lohr has been placed on paid administrative leave. It is important to note that paid administrative leave is not discipline. The WBEA is very concerned about the district’s choice to take an experienced, high quality educator out of her classroom, especially the week prior to final exams. Educators know the importance of teachers being with their students during this critical time.

Tanya’s administrative leave came after she spoke with Principal Bill Greymont about staff concerns regarding a threatening statement made by an Assistant Principal, and the chilling effect this statement had on the circulation of a petition outlining staff concerns with the Galileo testing system. Tanya spoke to Principal Greymont in her role as a union representative.

In these discussions, the WBEA felt they had reached an agreement with Principal Greymont wherein he would send out an email informing employees they were free to sign the petition without fear of retribution. Instead, an email was sent out that many employees, including union officers, believed was designed to further discourage them from signing the petition and raising their concerns. When Tanya met with Principal Greymont about his email, she was also threatened with retaliation.

Bear in mind that this is one perspective. Unfortunately, since it is a personnel issue, the school district is not allowed to tell their side of the story. Given Lohr’s history, I doubt that the district would have taken this action, and risk the inevitable backlash from West Bend’s vocal liberal minority, without ample justification.


1001, 06 January 2016


  1. Kevin Scheunemann

    “Paid” leave?

    I’d rather see her do the job if we are going to pay her.

  2. T of B

    I think Lohr presents a unique challenge in the employer/employe relationship, but I would have to wonder about what kind of leadership WBSD has (Board and Supt.) – seems like Principal Greymont has been “ground zero” on several situations that require “clean up” by the higher ups. First, the student protest that got out of hand – rookie mistake gathering a crowd of protesting kids into a cafeteria – previous ways to handle that was to get those disruptive students outside & lock them out until they were ready to conform. Then there is the long-running athletic issues – I think that was girl’s basketball coach getting fired, different person called in for interview and literaly told he would get the job, and then Greymont reversing that. Superintendent forced to publicly admit that he was clueless on that issue. Now we have this latest “bungle” that is picking up momentum – lots of parents are becoming engaged in this already – I fully expect this to be an issue in the spring Board election. I think the Board and Superintendent need to “grow a set” and accept the possibility that they have their own personnel issue to deal with.

  3. T of B

    From what I can see, Lohr has been “locked out” from doing anything, even sharing her lesson plans and other info with the sub replacing her. Next week is exams week – some parents are concerned that this will impact their students grades. These are the parents of AP & Honors students – very engaged, influential community people, not the kind that are going to take this lying down. I sense the potential for a major power shift here. Will be interesting – Board President is up for re-election. 5 candidates in a primary to be narrowed down to 3 for 2 seats. The cynic in me makes me wonder if this was timed for maximum effect.

  4. Owen

    I thought the same thing, T of B. It doesn’t escape my attention that this happened the day after the deadline for candidates and there are 2 candidates from the new liberal group, Benders for Better Public Education. Seems like a good way to gin up controversy before an election.

  5. Mark Maley

    T of B

    The aggrieved applicant was never told he would get the job and was not the successful candidate because of his actions before and after the firing .

    None of that came out as his wife led a publicity campaign absent any actual facts
    About his actions .

    The community is split between aggressive and conservative activists . Saying only liberals are aggressive is a canard

    The AD should never have finished out his contract based upon his actions in both the Gruber firing and phoney eligibility concerns he did nothing to actually investigate that could have resulted in lifetime bans for athletes

    And the district was never going to hire his wiling cronies in the actions that caused the district to publicly apologize to Gruber , the East players and parents

    I agree ms Lohr is a lighting rod but let’s let’s the facts come out as they just did in this post about athletics


  6. Mark Maley

    The “aggrieved ” applicants wife is one of those running for the school board .

    The plot thickens !

  7. T of B

    Thanks Mark Maley – after I posted I wondered if I had the athletic situation right – did not have time to go back and find the articles. Did not know about the family dynamic either. But I do recall that Greymont had something to do with the way it was handled in the aftermath and that Ted Nietzke had to declare ignorance on the issue.

  8. Mark Maley

    The athletics issue was summed up by Ted’s
    Initial Response ” we did the right thing in the wrong order ”

    On the one hand, I used to write my quotes for the paper after games so they got it right
    Because they rarely did

    On the other hand, that’s probably one he’d like back

  9. Kevin Scheunemann

    There is one thing this story and comments prove:

    Public school systems are dysfunctional. This is just latest example of the dysfunction.

    Education is too important to let government run it.

  10. Jenn Donath

    Hello Everyone,

    I am running for school board and also happen to be a member of the Benders for Better Public Education group

    I’m not quite certain if Owen and T of B’s comments refer to the timing of “Benders candidates” running for school board, the timing of the Tanya Lohr/WBEA announcement right before an election, or the timing of Benders members announcing candidacy and the WBEA post.

    I’m going to comment on my own timing for announcing my candidacy so shortly before the WBEA announcement was posted on Benders. I didn’t give serious consideration to running until Karen announced that she was filing for non-candidacy and it appeared that only Randy would run. Declaring my candidacy for school board was a decision that I took very seriously, and I only confided in a close circle of friends and family during that short amount of time. I didn’t want to make any announcements that I was running until the paperwork was officially submitted and there was no turning back. The date I filed was a combination of me purposely waiting until the holidays were over before filing and not being able to get to the district building that Monday, January 4.

    Having five candidates run is advantageous for the community. Randy Marquardt has valuable board experience and strong leadership skills. Tiffany Larson and Bob Miller have children in the district, and I am excited that we have more parental involvement. I am not familiar with Ken Schmidt, but I look forward to meeting him and hearing more from him in the weeks ahead. I am a parent with a child in the district and an instructor at UW Oshkosh. Ideally the community members will find two candidates who represent their own values and beliefs, and they will be able to vote with willingness and confidence.

    If you have any questions, please ask. I am happy to answer them on this page or in an email.

    The members of Boots and Sabers are always welcome to post on the Benders page. We may have different philosophies, but I think that we have the same bipartisan goals: excellent schools, civically engaged citizens, and a stronger community.

    Best wishes,

  11. Owen

    Hi Jenn,

    Thank you for running. Public service is never easy and I certainly appreciate it when folks are willing to do it. I look forward to learning more about your plans for the district in the weeks to come.



  12. T of B

    Jenn – my comments about the timing were more along the lines of a) doing it in the run up to exam week, when students will be most impacted by the lack of their regular teacher, unless it can be assumed that the students are just as well off with a sub – but that contradicts the feeling that Ms. Lohr is an exceptional teacher necessary to those student’s success. Parents of those students will also notice the impact at this critical time and motivated to get engaged. That leads to b) a lot of attention is focused on school board issues as part of the normal election cycle. Seems like an opportune time to “hijack” that attention. Ms . Lohr could have done this a month ago, or a month in the future. I do not get the sense that there was any attempt to coordinate with the Benders group – the group seems rather uncoordinated as it is, and I have seen that people with contrarian opinions are not treated savagedly and are engaged in the discussions. You may want to rethink the invitation to Owen – not so sure you want him in there trashing the place – LOL.

    Please, do not address anything I have said – was just trying to explain where I was coming from and in no way did I think it had anything to do with any candidates taking the bold move to file. As a candidate you really don’t want to engage in any “back & forth” on these kinds of issues that on surface appear to be nebulous or a union/employer conflict, so again, don’t respind to my opinions As Owen said, it is your plans for the district that we should look forward to hearing about.

    Good luck and looking forward to the discussions that will arise in the upcoming weeks, the community will benefit from that, no matter what the outcome will be

  13. Mark Maley

    I support the questioning of the testing system in the proper time and place

    There was some talk of a ” slowdown ” in December to Sabatoge the scores . I would not support that

    Of course this would fly in the self interest of teachers with $ bonus’s attached to higher test scores if true

    I have never voted for Randy but will do so this election . He has , for the most part , kept the district out of the paper and made the trans run on time .

    When I ran for the school board , I was pigeonholed as a big spending , teacher supporting liberal by a candidate who had never run a business and had 3 or 4 jobs in the run up years to the election .

    I assumed he had a mortgage and a car loan
    And credit card debt while I had none , but he was the true conservative

    The irony of that still makes me chuckle

    I was not a Big hit at either of the groups that
    Hold the far ends of the academic perspective in town because I support public education and can also read a balance sheet

    Both sides paint in shades of black and white
    While a business ( and the school district is a business ) paints in shades of grey

    So let’s see what the facts are and let this school board sort it out . I would never have said that 5 years ago but today , they deserve the benefit of the doubt

  14. T of B

    Wow Mark, I remember voting for you whatever that year was. Some kind of communication went out to the parents last night from administration explaining the purpose behind this testing format – saw it on someone elses’s device. Tried to find it on district website but maybe it isn’t intended for the public? I imagine all the controversy is causing stress and anxiety for the children, and administration needs to counteract it by explaining the process to the parents – that seemed to be the gist of it. Maybe Owen can find that and post it? Really should be public too. When I look at social media all I see is a lot of chatter & petitions – maybe the kids figure that if there is enough of a ruckess they won’t have final exams next week.

    Is starting to smell like some kind of labor union job action.

  15. Owen

    I have that email. I’ll post it in a bit.

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