Allison Garner

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Allison Garner
Allison Garner.jpg
Board member, Oshkosh Board of Education, At-large
In office
April 2011 - Present
Term ends
April 2018
Years in position 4
Board Treasurer
Elections and appointments
Last electionApril 7, 2015
First electedApril 5, 2011
Next general2018
Term limitsN/A
Bachelor'sUniversity of Oklahoma
Master'sUniversity of Wisconsin-Oshkosh
ProfessionChemical engineer
Office website
Campaign website
Ballotpedia's school board candidate survey
Allison Garner is an at-large member of the Oshkosh Board of Education in Wisconsin. She first won election to the board in 2011. Garner won re-election to the board without opposition in the general election on April 1, 2014. However, the third seat up for election in that race was for an unexpired board term. As Garner placed last in the unopposed election, she was elected to a one-year term. She won a full three-year term in the general election on April 7, 2015.

Garner participated in Ballotpedia's 2015 school board candidate survey.


Garner earned a B.S. in chemical engineering from the University of Oklahoma in 1997. She later received an MBA from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh in 2006. Garner has worked for 16 years as a chemical engineer with TTC Labs, Inc. She also founded an advocacy group called Oshkosh for Education (OFE) in 2010 to pursue more fiscal responsibility in district policies. Garner and her husband have two children currently attending area schools.[1][2]



See also: Oshkosh Area School District elections (2015)


Three at-large board incumbents were up for re-election in 2015. Incumbent Allison Garner ran for re-election against challengers Jim Evans, Huma Malik and Kelly Olmsted. Incumbents Kelli Saginak and Matthew Wiedenhoeft did not file to run for re-election. Their terms will expire in April 2015.

In March 2015, however, Malik announced she would be ending her campaign for the board, but it was too late to remove her name from the ballot. While some votes were still cast for her, Malik was defeated. Garner, Evans and Olmstead won the election.[3]


Oshkosh Area School District,
At-Large General Election, 3-year term, 2015
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngAllison Garner Incumbent 31.3% 4,801
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngJim Evans 29.7% 4,547
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngKelly Olmsted 29% 4,443
     Nonpartisan Huma Malik 9.6% 1,472
     Nonpartisan Write-in votes 0.4% 61
Total Votes 15,324
Source: Winnebago County Clerk, "Eleciton Summary Report Spring Election - April 7, 2015," accessed April 7, 2015 These election results are not official and will be updated when certified results are available. You can submit certified results by contacting us.


Garner reported no contributions or expenditures to the Oshkosh Area School District as of March 30, 2015.[4]


Garner had received no official endorsements as of January 9, 2015.


See also: Oshkosh Area School District elections (2014)


Allison Garner, Barbara Herzog and John Lemberger sought re-election without opposition to three available seats in the general election on April 1, 2014. The third seat up for election was for the remainder of an unexpired term. The third place winner, therefore, took on a one-year term, while the first and second place won regular three-year terms.


Note: The third seat up for election in 2014 was for the remainder of an unexpired term. The third place winner, therefore, earned a one-year term, while the first and second place won regular three-year terms.

Oshkosh Area School District,
At-Large General Election, 3-year & 1-year terms, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngBarbara Herzog (3-year) Incumbent 35.2% 7,449
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngJohn Lemberger (3-year) Incumbent 31.9% 6,746
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngAllison Garner (1-year) Incumbent 31.6% 6,676
     Nonpartisan Write-in votes 1.3% 284
Total Votes 21,155
Source: Winnebago County Clerk, "Election Results," April 1, 2014


Garner reported no contributions or expenditures to the Oshkosh Area School District in this election. State law allowed candidates to claim exempt status from campaign finance reporting if their contributions and expenditures did not exceed $1,000 in the calendar year.[5]


Garner did not receive any official endorsements for her campaign.

Campaign themes


Ballotpedia survey responses

School Boards-Survey Graphic-no drop shadow.png

Garner participated in Ballotpedia's 2015 survey of school board candidates. The following sections display her responses to the survey questions. When asked what her top priority would be if elected, the candidate stated:

Currently, the Oshkosh Area School District is seeing a net loss of students to other public school districts in the surrounding communities. This results in a decrease of revenues for our district. My top priority is to turnaround this net loss to a net gain. Using the results of a survey that answered why families leave our district, we can prioritize the changes that need to be made.[6]

—Allison Garner, (2015)[7]

Ranking the issues

The candidate was asked to rank the following issues by importance in the school district, with one being the most important and seven being the least important. This table displays this candidate's rankings from most to least important:

Education policy
Education policy logo.jpg

Click here to learn more about education policy in Wisconsin.
Education on the ballot
Issue importance ranking
Candidate's ranking Issue
Balancing or maintaining the district's budget
Improving college readiness
Expanding school choice options
Improving education for special needs students
Expanding career-technical education
Closing the achievement gap
Expanding arts education
Positions on the issues

The candidate was asked to answer 10 questions from Ballotpedia regarding significant issues in education and the school district. The questions are in the left column and the candidate's responses are in the right column of the following table:

Question Response
What is your stance on implementing Common Core standards?
"It is already implemented in WI. It seems like we should continue to review the data and tweak as needed. On a personal note, I am concerned about the amount of testing that is required."
Should your district approve the creation of new charter schools?
Should the state give money to private schools through a voucher system?
Are standardized tests an accurate metric of student achievement?
"They can be accurate for some students, but not all. Additionally, some tests measure proficiency while others measure growth, so this question is difficult to answer with a simple yes or no. I think that testing should be included in the measurements of students achievement along with other metrics."
How can the district ensure equal opportunities for high and low achieving students?
"For Oshkosh, forming partnerships with local businesses and building a strong relationship with the community has helped to fund educational initiatives for both low and high achieving students. By sharing a comprehensive view supported by data regarding the needs of the district with the citizens of Oshkosh, we have witnessed an uptick in the resources devoted to our district."
How should expulsion be used in the district?
"Expulsion should be used for serious offenses to ensure the safety of other students as well as the integrity of education at district schools."
If a school is failing in your district, what steps should the school board take to help the students in that school?
"The school board can be sure to oversee turnaround efforts in a failing school, to support policies that support student achievement and hold the administration accountable."
Do you support merit pay for teachers?
"Again, this is a very simplified question. In general, humans respond to positive reinforcements. I think that teacher compensation should include more metrics than simply years in the district and educational credits. If merit pay is used to support improving student achievement and is backed by data, then I support it."
How should the district handle underperforming teachers?
"Set up a mentorship program for the underperforming teacher with a more experienced teacher in the district."
How would you work to improve community-school board relations?
"Communication is key to building strong relationships with the community. While Oshkosh has a very favorable relationship with its community, I would like to encourage the district to hire a communications expert that would increase our reach and improve the way we share information regarding the district."


Garner's 2011 campaign website listed her major themes:

I would like to continue the tradition of educational excellence in our district as we set our strategic plan for the future. Second, as a mother of two elementary aged students, I think that our school board can work to stabilize the school district by working with both the OASD and the community to build trust and respect. With a stable district, I think that we can continue to challenge our students to improve their performance and learning. Additionally, I believe we can continue to improve professional development for teachers and administrators.

Personally, I have been married for 13 years and have a son aged 8 and daughter aged 6. I am a Midwestern native who moved to Oshkosh in 2000. Prior to 2000, I spent 10 years living all over the country and working overseas. My professional background includes a B.S. in chemical engineering and an MBA. For the past 13 years, I have worked as a chemical engineer in the oil industry and am currently the vice president of a small chemical engineering consulting firm, which is where I learned about fiscal responsibilities. As I have shown in the past two years with Oshkosh for Education (OFE), my analytical problem solving skills have been beneficial to the OASD.

In the face of a BOE determined to close schools and fire teachers in 2008, I started OFE. This organization is now comprised of parents, residents and teachers who feel strongly about improving the fiscal responsibility in the OASD. As demonstrated over the last two years, OFE has been successful in:

  • Keeping Tipler open and saving the OASD about $3 million of capital costs with an estimated payback of 30 years. This saved 6 full-time teaching positions.
  • Keeping Green Meadows/Lakeside 4th and 5th graders at Tipler Middle School instead of transferring them a 3rd time in 4 years.
  • Keeping Lakeside elementary school open with an estimated net savings of less than $10,000. This saved 4-6 full-time teaching jobs and the support staff positions.
  • Keeping Smith elementary school open with an estimated net savings of $60,000 excluding transportation, SAGE and overcrowding issues. This saved 5-6 full-time teaching positions and the support staff positions.


—Allison Garner's campaign website, (2011) [8]

What was at stake?


Issues in the election

Evans, Garner and Olmsted were all interviewed about their candidacies by Eye on Oshkosh. Their full interviews can be watched below.

Eye on Oshkosh, "Eye on Oshkosh-2015 Spring Election candidates Jim Evans and Benjamin Stepanek, taped 3 5 15," March 5, 2015

Eye on Oshkosh, "Eye on Oshkosh, OASD candidates in spring 2015 election, Allison Garner and Kelly Olmsted, taped 3 1," March 19, 2015

Issues in the district

Student information requested from school choice group

School Choice Wisconsin, a school choice advocacy group, requested information on all students attending the Oshkosh Area School District in February 2015, and under state law, the district was required to provide it. The group filed an open records request for student names, addresses, phone numbers, grade levels and schools from a total of 30 school districts in the state. The request came after Gov. Scott Walker (R) proposed lifting the enrollment cap on the statewide voucher program. Jim Bender, president of School Choice Wisconsin, said the gathered information would be used to educate parents on their school choice options and would likely be shared with private and parochial schools that are currently part of the state's voucher program. He likened the requests to other marketing efforts, such as billboards and mailings, and said the same information is provided in student directories and to college and military recruiters.[9][10][11][12]

Some state officials, however, saw the request as an infringement on student privacy. State Sen. Dave Hansen (D) and State Rep. Eric Genrich (D) expressed concern over the student data request. "As a parent and lawmaker, I'm outraged by this request for personal student information," said Genrich. Together, Hansen and Genrich have proposed a bill to protect students’ personal information. They planned to allow access to student information only “to advance a school’s educational mission but keep it out of the hands of those who might seek to harm children.”[9][12]

The Oshkosh Area School District did not have to provide as much information as other school districts that received the same open records request. State law requires school districts to turn over directory data information to anyone who asks for it, but it also allows school districts to decide on their own definition of what constitutes directory data information.[10]

The district said it would provide the information requested, but only that which fell into its definition of directory data information. That means it did not provide School Choice Wisconsin with the addresses or phone numbers of its middle and high school students. It provided the addresses and phone numbers of elementary school students, as that is considered directory data information in order to encourage students in that age bracket to socialize outside of school.[10] According to Oshkosh Superintendent Stan Mack, around 2,000 parents have turned in forms so they could opt out of such data requests in the future.[13]

Board approves new teacher pay plan

Teachers in the Oshkosh Area School District faced a new requirement of taking professional development courses to earn pay raises after the Oshkosh Area Board of Education voted 5-1 to implement a new pay plan on August 13, 2014. Steve Eliasen was the only dissenting vote, and board President Matthew Wiedenhoeft was not present at the meeting. Eliasen called the plan a good starting point, but said he wished district leaders had sought more input from sources outside of education and had included more than just professional development. Other board members called the plan a work-in-progress but believed it was ready to be tested. The plan was set to be reviewed each year and amended as needed.[14]

The pay plan was structured only for professional employees, not support staff. To move up in the plan, professional employees would have to earn 35 district points during the school year, and they were required to earn at least 35 points during their three-year evaluation period to remain a teacher in good standing. Points could be earned by participating in professional development activities outside of school hours, and the activities had to cover one of the following four subjects: technology, disciplinary literacy, effective instruction and assessment or social and emotional growth.[14]

About the district

See also: Oshkosh Area School District, Wisconsin
Oshkosh Area School District is located in Winnebago County, Wis.
Oshkosh Area School District is located in Oshkosh, the county seat of Winnebago County, in east-central Wisconsin. The county was home to an estimated 169,541 residents in 2013, according to the United States Census Bureau.[15] During the 2010-2011 school year, Oshkosh Area School District was the 11th-largest school district in Wisconsin and served 10,064 students.[16]


Winnebago County underperformed compared to the rest of Wisconsin in terms of higher education achievement in 2013. The United States Census Bureau found that 25.5 percent of county residents aged 25 years and older had attained a bachelor's degree compared to 26.8 percent for Wisconsin as a whole. The median household income in Winnebago County was $51,010 while it was $52,413 for the entire state. The poverty rate in the county was 12.3 percent compared to 13.0 percent statewide.[15]

Racial Demographics, 2013[15]
Race Winnebago County (%) Wisconsin (%)
White 93.1 88.1
Black or African American 1.9 6.5
American Indian and Alaska Native 0.7 1.1
Asian 2.7 2.5
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander 0.1 0.0
Two or More Races 1.5 1.7
Hispanic or Latino 3.8 6.3

Presidential Voting Pattern,
Winnebago County[17]
Year Democratic vote (%) Republican vote (%)
2012 50.9 47.2
2008 54.9 43.2
2004 46.2 52.5
2000 44.6 50.3

Note: The United States Census Bureau considers "Hispanic or Latino" to be a place of origin rather than a race. Citizens may report both their race and their place of origin, and as a result, the percentages in each column of the racial demographics table may exceed 100 percent.[18][19]

Recent news

This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the terms "Allison Garner Oshkosh Area School District."

Some of the stories below may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of Google's news search engine.

Allison Garner - Google News Feed

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See also

External links

Suggest a link


  1. LinkedIn, "Allison Garner," accessed February 7, 2014
  2. Allison Garner for Oshkosh School Board, "About Me," accessed February 7, 2014
  3. Oshkosh Northwestern Media, "Oshkosh school board candidate drops out of race," March 4, 2015
  4. Margaret Koenig, "Email correspondence with Teresa Collins, Executive Assistant in the Oshkosh Area School District Business Office," March 31, 2015
  5. Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, "Campaign Finance Overview: Local Candidates," May 2010
  6. 6.0 6.1 Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
  7. Ballotpedia School Board Candidate Survey, 2015, "Allison Garner's responses," January 23, 2015
  8. Allison Garner for Oshkosh School Board, "Oshkosh Teachers Union Questionnaire," accessed February 7, 2014
  9. 9.0 9.1 ABC 2, "Green Bay lawmakers want law to protect student information," February 13, 2015
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Fox 11, "School districts differ on giving up student information," February 13, 2015
  11. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "School choice group seeks personal data on students," February 13, 2015
  12. 12.0 12.1 Green Bay Press Gazette, "Voucher group requests student info from public schools," February 13, 2015
  13. ABC 2, "Parents opt out of student directory release," February 24, 2015
  14. 14.0 14.1 The Northwestern, "Oshkosh school board approves new teacher pay plan," August 13, 2014
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 United States Census Bureau, "Winnebago County, Wisconsin," accessed March 25, 2015
  16. National Center for Education Statistics, "ELSI Table Generator," accessed January 27, 2014
  17. Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, "Election Results," accessed February 5, 2014
  18. United States Census Bureau, "Frequently Asked Questions," accessed April 21, 2014
  19. Each column will add up to 100 percent after removing the "Hispanic or Latino" place of origin percentages, although rounding by the Census Bureau may make the total one- or two-tenths off from being exactly 100 percent. This Ballotpedia page provides a more detailed explanation of how the Census Bureau handles race and ethnicity in its surveys.