John DeVantier

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John DeVantier
John DeVantier.jpg
Former candidate for
Board member, Appleton Board of Education, At-large
Elections and appointments
Last electionApril 1, 2014
Term limitsN/A
ProfessionCustomer services director
Campaign website
Ballotpedia's school board candidate survey
John DeVantier was a candidate for an at-large seat on the Appleton Board of Education in Wisconsin. He lost election to the board in the general election on April 1, 2014.


DeVantier currently works as a customer services director for Oracle. He previously worked as the director of IT infrastructure and operations at School Specialty Inc. from 2005 to 2011.[1] DeVantier and his wife, Melissa, have three children.[2]



See also: Appleton Area School District elections (2014)


John DeVantier ran against incumbents Diane Barkmeier and Sharon Fenlon and challenger Barry O'Connor in the general election on April 1, 2014.


Appleton Area School District, At-large General Election, 3-year term, April 1, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngSharon Fenlon Incumbent 27.3% 4,183
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngDiane Barkmeier Incumbent 27.2% 4,172
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngBarry O'Connor 27.2% 4,164
     Nonpartisan John DeVantier 17.8% 2,731
     Nonpartisan Write-in votes 0.5% 80
Total Votes 15,330
Source: Information submitted to Ballotpedia through e-mail from Kimm Smith on May 12, 2014.


DeVantier began the pre-election reporting period with an existing account balance of $35.00 from a previous report. He reported $1,125.00 in contributions and $609.93 in expenditures to the school board secretary by March 24, which left his campaign with $550.07 on hand.[3]


DeVantier did not receive any official endorsements for his campaign.


Appleton Area School District, At-large General Election, 3-year term, April 2, 2013
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngJim Bowman 28.8% 5,002
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngJulie Baker Incumbent 26.7% 4,632
     Nonpartisan John DeVantier 23.9% 4,155
     Nonpartisan Elizabeth Panzer 20.6% 3,586
Total Votes 17,375
Source: Appleton Post-Crescent, "Election results: School boards and referendums," April 3, 2013

Campaign themes


DeVantier described his major themes for 2014 on his campaign website:

Why are you running?
It would be beneficial to have more parents of school aged children on the School Board. It takes a serious commitment of time and effort to do a good job in this role, and that is not always easy when juggling family time and work obligations, but I am convinced it is worth it. The decisions made by the school board affect my children, their teachers, friends, and classmates so I decided to take action by running for the position myself.

What do you see as the top priority of the Board?
As the only candidate that is a parent of school aged children, I believe the Board of Education must be focused on student achievement. The Appleton Area School District is fortunate to be part of an active and involved community, and we have outstanding educators and administrators. I know that technology can play a role in improving student achievement and I would like to bring my over 15 years of Information Technology management experience to the school board. Finally, I know that the budget challenges facing the district must be addressed carefully or student achievement will suffer. As a fiscal conservative, I am anxious to bring a fresh perspective to the district’s financial needs. As a parent who will have children in the district until 2031, l have a vested interest in making sure that we provide the children with the best possible education.

What's the biggest change you'd like to see to improve education in the district?
I have been pleased to watch my children’s exposure to great technology in the classroom and computer lab, but I understand that this is not available in every classroom in our district. Our schools are constantly looking for ways to enhance the use of technology. If the proposed referendum is approved, the additional investments in student technology will need to be carefully made. With my background in Information Technology, I can help the board determine cost-effective ways to promote the increased use of technology. This will allow students to have more hands-on learning experiences, and will allow teachers to more easily share successful techniques with other educators throughout the district.


—John DeVantier's campaign website, (2014) [5]

Stance on February 18 referendum

District voters approved a referendum requesting $25 million in new funds on February 18. DeVantier explained his views on the referendum on his campaign website:

As you may be aware, the Appleton Area School District is proposing a referendum which will be on the February 18th ballot. This two-part referendum consists of 1) a one-time capital request of $25 million and 2) an annual increase to the operating budget of $5 million.

I have attended each informational session and board meeting related to this topic over the last 3 months, and have decided to support the proposal. The capital project list will directly benefit student achievement and safety, and includes the following:

  • Nearly $2 million to secure school entrances. In some cases this includes relocating school offices near main entrances to ensure proper registration of all school visitors.
  • Over $4 million for student use technology. This will include a tablet/laptop for each high school student and a 1 to 4 ratio for students in grades 3-8.
  • Nearly $6 million to modernize and improve hands-on science labs and industrial technology instructional areas.
  • Over $8 million to address space needs at several school buildings.
  • The remaining $5 million dollars will be spent on overdue building maintenance projects.

The $5 million increase in the annual operating budget will be used to maintain the technology investments. It is important to note that these two questions are completely dependent on one another so I encourage you to at least vote consistently on the two questions.

While I support this referendum, I am frustrated that we, as taxpayers and parents, have been put in this position. I believe that if the board had better managed the district’s finances, we would have more available from current tax revenue to address these needs. For example, the board has been invading the building maintenance budget to pay for, among other things, unspecified “programs”, thereby requiring this referendum to pay for anticipated maintenance needs. I can only assume that it is easier for the board to request funds for building maintenance than it would have been to ask taxpayers for additional money for these “programs”. However, at this point a “No” vote on this referendum only hurts students; it does not improve the fiscal responsibility of the board and administration. I believe that we need to focus on the students in our district and make a decision based on what is best for them. The next step is to address the underlying issue of budget mismanagement. Please remember that we will have the opportunity to bring a fiscally responsible voice to the board on April 1st by voting for John DeVantier.


—John DeVantier's campaign website, (2014) [6]

About the district

See also: Appleton Area School District, Wisconsin
Appleton Area School District is located in Appleton, Wisconsin
Appleton Area School District is located in Appleton, Wisconsin, the county seat of Outagamie County. According to the United States Census Bureau, Appleton is home to 72,635 residents.[7] Appleton Area School District is the sixth-largest school district in Wisconsin, serving 15,194 students during the 2010-2011 school year.[8]


Appleton outperformed the rest of Wisconsin in terms of higher education achievement in 2010. The United States Census Bureau found that 31.2 percent of Appleton residents aged 25 years and older had attained a bachelor's degree compared to 26.4 percent for Wisconsin as a whole. The median household income in Appleton was $52,605 compared to $52,627 for the state of Wisconsin. The poverty rate in Appleton was 10.5 percent compared to 12.5 percent for the entire state.[7]

Racial Demographics, 2010[7]
Race Appleton (%) Wisconsin (%)
White 87.5 86.2
Black or African American 1.7 6.3
American Indian and Alaska Native 0.7 1.0
Asian 5.9 2.3
Two or More Races 2.0 1.8
Hispanic or Latino 5.0 5.9

Presidential votes, 2000-2012[9]
Year Democratic vote (%) Republican vote (%)
2012 48.2 50.0
2008 54.9 43.3

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.[10][11]

Recent news

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See also

External links

Suggest a link


  1. LinkedIn, "John DeVantier," accessed January 27, 2014
  2. John DeVantier for School Board, "About John," accessed January 27, 2014
  3. Information submitted to Ballotpedia through e-mail from Kimm Smith on March 26, 2014.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
  5. John DeVantier for School Board, "FAQ," accessed January 27, 2014
  6. John DeVantier for School Board, "John DeVantier supports February 18th referendum," accessed January 27, 2014
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 United States Census Bureau, "Appleton, Wisconsin," accessed January 27, 2014
  8. National Center for Education Statistics, "ELSI Table Generator," accessed January 27, 2014
  9. Outagamie County Elections, "Elections Information," accessed January 27, 2014
  10. United States Census Bureau, "Frequently Asked Questions," accessed April 21, 2014
  11. 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.