Wednesday, July 8, 2020
Susan BloomRichard Taylor

Bloom seeks vacant Tomah school board seat

Taylor feels military experience serves well for school board

Susan Bloom has a strong historical connection to the Tomah School District.

Bloom and her husband, Jerry are both THS graduates (she in 1974). Their three sons, Andy, Tim, Michael are THS grads. Michael teaches at Tomah middle school. Bloom has two grandchildren attending Tomah schools.

That family history serves as her motivation to run for one of three vacant Tomah School Board seats.

“The quality of education provided at Tomah is exceptional, but in this changing environment we need to work harder to continue this standard and improve it where we can,” Bloom said. “I would like the opportunity to serve and continue these standards for my grandchildren.”

Bloom started her professional career working for local optometrist Dr. R.W. Ahlstrom in 1974 as a receptionist. The practice was sold to Gundersen Clinic in the early 1980’s.

Bloom earned a supervisory management degree from what was then Western Wisconsin Technical College (now Western Technical College) in 1990. Bloom retired as an optometric technician in 2016.

Bloom is confident those connections are a valuable asset as a school board member.

“I enjoyed my years at work and was able to meet many people in Tomah and the surrounding areas,” she said.

Bloom fills her time by staying active in her church and volunteering at Tomah Health.

With three outgoing school board members and a retiring district superintendent Richard Taylor views his timing ideal to run for the Tomah School Board. 

“I am running for a seat because I see the vacancies left by the departing board members and the district’s transition to a new superintendent as an opportunity for me to become more engaged in this community and to help shape the future for Tomah’s youth,” Taylor said. “If elected I will effectively work with the other board members to find answers to complicated issues associated with aging buildings, playgrounds, and other infrastructures, while being responsible stewards of the taxpayers’ money when identifying and deciding the best solutions. We must invest in our education system if we want our children to succeed in a highly competitive global economy, and we must also be fiscally responsible with the people’s money. We must get this right.”

Taylor was born and raised Cañon City, CO. He graduated high school in 1993 and enlisted in the Army in 1995. He met and married his wife, Christina (from Mishicot) in 1998 while stationed together in Savannah, GA. Later that year they reenlisted for Fort Carson, CO and spent the next 10 years as a dual-military family raising their oldest son, Alex, in Colorado. He served 13 years in the Army, including one year in South Korea, and two years in Iraq in 2003 and in 2005. 

In 2008 Taylor left the Army. Christina transferred to the Wisconsin Army National Guard, and they moved to Tomah. 

Their oldest son, Alex, attended Lemonweir Elementary School, Tomah middle school, and graduated from Tomah high school in 2017 as the valedictorian. He currently attends UW-Madison. Their second son, William, attends third grade at La Grange Elementary.

Taylor learned early the value of hard work with his father.

“My first work experience was for my father when I was about 11 years old, picking up tools, cleaning floors, and any other task he could find for me,” Taylor said. “By watching my father build and remodel homes, I learned skills needed to serve as a laborer, a framer, a trim carpenter, and eventually as a foreman of my own construction teams while building houses in Colorado.”

Taylor was looking for something “new and exciting” when he enlisted in the military. But he discovered more.

“I learned I didn’t know as much as I thought I did,” Taylor said. “I learned teamwork is vital to success and I learned to respect people for the skills and knowledge they bring to the team. Not everyone needs to be an engineer, an architect, a plumber, or an electrician, but without teamwork and a clear understanding of the bigger picture, we get errors, wasted time, and missed deadlines. I learned how to manage time, resources, and people. I worked my way up from the lowest ranks to serve as a Platoon Sergeant, but most importantly, I learned how to work as a team to accomplish something much larger than my own self-interests, wants, and needs.”

Taylor utilized the GI Bill to attended online college, studying Paralegal Studies and Network Administration. In 2013 he was hired as an administrative assistant for the Army Reserve Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) office at Fort McCoy. Over the past six years he advanced to serve as an EEO Specialist, the Army Reserve Disability Program Manager, and most recently to serve public as a supervisory Senior EEO Specialist, supervising several other EEO Specialists processing complaints of discrimination, assisting individuals with reasonable accommodations, and teaching equal employment opportunity laws, regulations, and rules to the Army Reserve workforce throughout the country and the world.

Taylor believes his lifelong experience is an asset if elected.

“I started at the bottom and worked my way up many times,” Taylor said. “I believe everyone can excel if given the right opportunities, tools, and encouragement. I possess the charisma to get along with other board members, patience to listen to the situations and problems the school board will need to address, courage to stand up for what is best for the students, the school staff and teachers, and the community and the wisdom to understand the impact the school board’s decisions will have on the different groups of people.”

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