Vanden Heuvel won’t seek School Board reelection
By Heather Graves
GREEN BAY – School Board President Eric Vanden Heuvel announced Tuesday, Nov. 9 he will not seek reelection when his term expires in April 2022.
“I have made the difficult decision to not seek a second term due to personal and professional challenges that require more of my time,” Vanden Heuvel said in a press release.
He was elected to a three-year term in April 2019 – serving as board president for 2020 and 2021.
In the release, Vanden Heuvel said it’s been a “pleasure to serve my community and the Green Bay Area Public School District (GBAPS) for the past three years.
“I am honored to have led the School District during a period of significant change, including the hiring of a new superintendent, the opening of the District’s Welcome Center, the repurposing of Jefferson Elementary into a Head Start Learning Center and the addition of the GBAPS Online School 4K-5,” he said in the release.
Vanden Heuvel’s decision comes after the deactivation of his personal and professional Facebook accounts last month indefinitely because the “safety of my family was compromised based upon information people were able to gather on Facebook,” he said at the time.
The School Board has received heightened scrutiny over the past 18 months for some of its pandemic-related decisions – including virtual learning for most of the 2020-21 school year, and this school year’s universal masking requirement.
Vanden Heuvel, however, said the negative feedback had nothing to do with his decision not to seek reelection.
He said the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic 10 months into his first year impacted what he imagined his service to look like.
“But in the end, I set out to provide leadership to the district, and I am confident that I did that over the course of my term,” he said.
Vanden Heuvel said serving on the board has been “one of the most professionally rewarding, yet difficult experiences of my life.”
“I am proud to have been able to support the school district that has done so much for me during my K-12 experience and continues to enrich the lives of my children,” he said.
While disappointed, Board Vice President Laura McCoy said she respects Vanden Heuvel’s decision.
“His leadership has been a true asset to our district during a very challenging time,” McCoy said. “I particularly admire his professionalism and deep commitment to the children of our community. He will be genuinely missed.”
McCoy’s sentiments were echoed by Superintendent Steve Murley.
“It has been my pleasure to work with Eric Vanden Heuvel as a board trustee and president of the Green Bay Area Public School Board,” Murley said. “Since Eric was elected in 2019, the role of school boards has profoundly changed as they worked with district administrators to manage a worldwide pandemic. I wish to express my gratitude for Eric’s leadership during the past few years, not only regarding COVID-19, but also on significant changes that will continue to move the district in the right direction. I have appreciated the support and dedication that Eric has shown for the students, staff, families and community that allow us to best serve all of our students’ needs. I am personally grateful for his role in the process that brought me to Green Bay, and his support for me in my first 18 months as Superintendent of Schools and Learning.”
Vanden Heuvel said he thanks district staff and fellow board members for their dedication to GBAPS students, staff and families.
“GBAPS is well-positioned for future success, and I look forward to being a champion of the district for years to come,” he said in the release.
Vanden Heuvel said his time on the board “was certainly eventful, but I am proud of everything we achieved.”
He said he will continue to focus on supporting GBAPS as board president until his term ends in April, and encourages others to run.
Vanden Heuvel said he will continue supporting education in his role as Greater Green Bay Chamber Vice President of Talent and Education, where he leads the Partners in Education Initiative.