Shelton resigns from Green Bay school board, effective immediately
By Heather Graves
GREEN BAY – The Green Bay school board will be shorthanded after an unexpected resignation late last week of its vice president.
Kristina Shelton publicly announced her resignation Friday, Jan. 15, effective immediately, after serving on the board for more than three years.
“This is a decision that required deep reflection and an honest assessment of growing professional and personal demands and goals,” she said.
Shelton named balance as the main driver for her departure.
She recently began her work as the representative for the state’s 90th Assembly District, elected to the seat this past November.
“I felt a strong obligation to the school district community to finish my three-year term of service,” Shelton said.
“Unfortunately, I found myself in increasing circumstances in which I felt I was not able to fully commit the amount of time needed to fill the school board position. My time and energy is not infinite. I realized that something had to change for me to feel more balanced, well and capable in representing the 90th in Madison, and being a mom to my kids.”
When Shelton announced her candidacy Assembly last year, she said she had no intention of stepping down from her role on the school board.
“The school district is under increasing pressure to continue to address both the immediate and long-term issues in public education,” she said. “COVID has exacerbated issues that were already on our radar. And, navigating the complex current reality to transition from virtual, hybrid to in-person learning has required additional time and commitments for all board members. The increased requirements to fully do the job, coupled with the intense need to get my Madison office up and running to serve the 90th, forced me to be honest in my assessment so that I could set more realistic expectations for myself and my family.”
Shelton was first appointed to the board in August 2018 to serve the remainder of former board member Chris Wagner’s term, who stepped down for personal reasons.
She was reelected in April 2019 for a three-year term, which expires April 2022.
Trustees now look to the community for a replacement.
The board will set a timetable to fill the vacancy at its meeting, Jan. 25 meeting.
Per state statute, the board needs to fill Shelton’s seat in the next 60 days, which will then be up for election in April 2022.
Board President Eric Vanden Heuvel said he estimates interviews will begin mid to late February, with seat fulfillment happening in mid-March.
Interested parties are encouraged to contact the district office for more information.
An election for the role of vice president will also be held at the Jan. 25 meeting.
“The board will function with six members for several weeks,” Vanden Heuvel said. “This presents the possibility of a tie on some votes, which could be a challenge.”
The board will also need to appoint a member to serve as its legislative liaison, a role Shelton held as well.
Shelton notified the board of her departure in an email Thursday, Jan. 14.
While surprised, trustees understand the complexity of Shelton’s decision.
“We had been in communication about what it would be like to hold two elected positions at the same time for a few months,” Vanden Heuvel said. “While not impossible, the current situation in our country, state and local community make it challenging to hold one elected position, let alone two. Kristina served our school district well and was a fierce advocate for public education, so she will definitely be missed.”
Some board members took to Facebook to express their gratitude for Shelton’s service, acknowledging the hard decision.
“Thank you to Kristina Shelton for her service to the Green Bay Public School District and the board of education,” Trustee Rhonda Sitnikau wrote on her board member Facebook page. “I respect her decision and know the consideration was not an easy one.”
While her time on the school board has come to an end, her dedication to public education has not.
“My priority has, and will continue to be, public education – including colleges, universities and technical training,” she said. “Now that I am serving in the Wisconsin State Assembly, my focus will be to pass legislation that protects and advances the role of public education in service of common good and a democratic society. I look forward to working with my colleagues on the school board as we advocate for Wisconsin schools.”