Mark Lindsey – President of WEAC Region 6
Mark is a high school social studies teacher in the Oregon (WI) School District and is a former music educator as well. He has been a dedicated union member and leader throughout his teaching career. He has served as a building representative, negotiator, and local president in the Oregon Education Association. He currently is president of WEAC Region 6 and a member of WEAC’s Board of Directors. Mark lives with his wife, Lynn. His daughter, Allison, is a nutrition sciences major at the U.W. Madison, and his son, Anthony, is employed in the financial services industry in Austin, Texas. Mark holds a B.S.E. as well as a M.S. in Educational Psychology from U.W. Madison. He became WEAC Region 6 president after leading the four Uniservs that currently comprise the membership of Region 6 (RVEP, SWEA, CAUS-North and CAUS-South) through the transition process. He is proud to serve the nearly 5,000 education professionals represented by the region.
Tim Vedra – Vice President WEAC Region 6
My name is Tim Vedra and I am the Vice-President. I teach 4th grade at Aldrich Intermediate School in Beloit. I enjoy my work as Vice-President serving our members in the best Region in the state! I have been very active in the union for the past 16 years at the Local and Uniserv level and look forward to continuing our regional work together.
Kay Bliefernicht – Region 6 Secretary
My name is Kay Bliefernicht. I teach special education at Oregon High Schooland have been a proud member of the Oregon Education Association for 34 years. I have served in several capacities as a union member. Before becoming secretary of Region 6, I served as secretary in my local for 16 years, and was also a member of the crisis team and negotiating team. At the UniServ level, I served as a local rep on the CAUS-N Board of Directors before I became secretary and eventually vice president. Part of my current duties as Region 6 secretary include chairing the Communications Committee. I am also a delegate from Region 6 to the South Central Federation of Labor (SCFL). Somehow I find time for my hobbies (reading, knitting, and card-making) and staying active in my church. I am passionate about making teaching and learning better in Wisconsin. We have an amazing thing going here, and I’m proud to be a part of it!
Brad Klotz – Zone I East Representative
I’m a band director at Lake Mills Middle School, and this is my 14th year teaching. I began my union work as our local’s representative to the CAUS-N board in 2009. In 2011 I was elected at the CAUS-N RA to be a voice for CAUS-N on the WEAC Board of Directors, a position I ran for again in 2013 and currently hold until July. On the WEAC board I have served as the chair of the board norms and communications committee as well as the awards and elections committee. I was elected as a state delegate to the 2012 and 2013 NEA RA’s, where I was asked by President Bell to be the legislative chair both years. I’m also a building rep for my local.
Jon Buslaff – Zone II Representative
Jon is an employee at Fennimore High School where he is a high school Special Education teacher. He is a Zone 2 Representative for Region 6. Jon wants to keep members in SW Wisconsin informed about the many opportunities and benefits available to them through WEAC Region 6.
Joshua Thorison – Zone V Representative
I have been teaching in the School District of Beloit for 10+ years and previously taught in Milwaukee for a couple of years. Currently I am teaching 4th grade at Fruzen Intermediate in Beloit. I currently serve as the the WEAC Region 6, Zone 5 Representative. I took on this role to do what I am able to improve the quality of educators’ lives and the quality of education for all students
Stephanie Rapach – PAC Chair
My name is Stephanie Rapach and I am currently teaching at Aldrich Intermediate School in Beloit. I am a twenty-nine year veteran teacher having taught in the Dayton, Ohio Public Schools for 12 years, Janesville Public Schools for 14 years and currently working in the Beloit Public School System.
I have been active in the Educational Unions since I was a student OEA member while attending the University of Dayton in the 1980’s! I was a Building Rep, Executive Board member and member of the Negotiations team while in Dayton and Janesville and have been on the WEAC Human and Civil Rights Committee as a member and chairperson in the past.
I am currently serving as Region 6 Political Action Co-chairperson with Kelly Sullivan, and have held that position since the inception of Region 6 in 2014.
I live in Janesville and have 3 children: twins Bridget and Michelle, who are 25 and Robert Anthony, who is 21. I enjoy reading whenever I can (!) and am currently running for a seat on the Janesville School Board. I believe in the power of unions and know that if we want to see change, we have to be politically active and work for those changes to happen!
Dustin Beilke – Director
In the last several years I have worked as a professional staffer for Madison Teachers Inc., the Pennsylvania State Education Association, Capital Area UniServ-North, and WEAC Region 6. I began working for WEAC in 1999 and spent 12 years with the statewide organization in various roles.
I was a PR writer and communications specialist for several years before becoming the WEAC media relations officer and chief communications strategist. I left WEAC’s public relations department for a job in the WEAC organizing department in 2009 and stayed there until 2012. Before coming to WEAC, I worked in the Wisconsin Legislature, was the communications director for two gubernatorial campaigns, worked as a news writer, assistant editor and freelance journalist. I have written for a number of publications through the years, including Newsday, Salon.com, The Nation, The Progressive, In These Times, Mother Jones, The Capital Times, PR Watch, the Shepherd-Express, Milwaukee Magazine, Madison Magazine, and The Onion.
Jack Bernfeld – Director
I am one of the Directors for WEAC Region 6. I have been very fortunate to have been able to work in the labor movement for nearly 40 years. I received a Bachelor of Arts degree (with Honors) in Sociology from the State University of New York – Stony Brook. I came to Wisconsin in 1975 to attend the Industrial Relations Research Institute (IRRI) where I received a Master of Science degree. I have been employed at Region 6 since early 2014. It has been a wonderful and challenging experience working with union members and encouraging potential
members to join our great organization. Prior to my time with Region 6, I was employed in various positions with AFSCME Council 40 and was actively involved in all areas of collective bargaining, leadership development, political action and organizing for affiliates across Wisconsin. In 2011, I took the position of Executive Director for the Racine Uniserv Council – representing teachers and educational assistants employed in Racine.
I am the father of two wonderful children. My daughter Melissa is an immigrant rights attorney in El Paso, Texas. She is the mother of my two grandchildren. My son Lee is a Special Education Teacher in New Berlin and a union member.
Michael Walsh – Director
Michael Walsh is a director for Region 6. Michael was a middle school teacher for 21 years before being hired by WEAC as a Government Relations Specialist in 2002. From 2011-13 Walsh worked as an Organizer for WEAC. In 2013 Michael was hired as UniServ Director for the Rock Valley Education Professionals. In 2014 Walsh became a director for WEAC Region 6 and is the staff liaison to the Region 6 PAC.
Rachel Schendel – Staff Assistant
My name is Rachel Schendel. I am one of your staff assistants in the WEAC Region 6 office. I was born in Beloit, Wisconsin. I graduated from Parkview High School in Orfordville in 1988. After high school I moved to Janesville where I still reside today.
I am married to Todd, my husband of twenty-two years. Todd and I have two sons. Both of our sons attended the public schools in Janesville. Samuel, our oldest son, is a sophomore in college out of state. Patrick, our youngest son, is a freshman in college. Pat is still living at home while attending college so we are not quite empty nesters yet. Our family pet is a nine year old cat named Butters.
I just celebrated my fourteenth anniversary with the WEAC Region 6 (formerly the Rock Valley Education Professionals) on January 28. Prior to working with this organization I worked as a support staff member in the School District of Janesville.
Margo Schmidt – Staff Assistant
Hello! My name is Margo Schmidt and I am one of the Staff Assistants at the WEAC Region 6 office. I was formerly employed by Capital Area UniServ-North from 1995 to 2014 as a Clerk Typist, Secretary and Staff Assistant. My experience as an Associate Staff employee has brought many new challenges throughout the years, constantly increasing my respect and dedication for the field of education. My greatest pleasure is meeting and communicating with our teachers and support staff professionals. Having the ability to assist them with any union related activities or membership issues that should arise, is a very gratifying experience and I look forward to carrying on with those responsibilities as Region 6 continues to move forward to achieve its goal of being a stronger union than ever before!
Barb Simpson – Staff Assistant
Over the past 35 years, I have had the privilege of working with WEAC, the CAUS South UniServ and WEAC Region 6. I came to WEAC with an Associate Degree in Court Reporting and began my career with WEAC working as a Regional Secretary, later moving to the position of Legal Secretary. I joined the staff at CAUS South in 1987, serving as their Staff Assistant. Since Region 6 was created through the merger of four former UniServs, I have had the pleasure of working closely with local members, staff and the Board of Directors.
Although we have seen many changes over the years, WEAC and Region 6 continue to work diligently for the educators and support staff in Wisconsin and I find it fulfilling to work for an organization that is genuinely dedicated to shaping the lives of its members.