Pearl City School District

Inspire In Everyone A Passion To Excel


Superintendent News,

On April 4, 2017, residents of our community have the opportunity to elect four members to the Board of Education.  There are six candidates running for the four open seats. In ballot order, as certified by the Stephenson County Clerk, the candidates are Amy Lieb, Wayne Crackenberger, Ashley Gronewold, Chad Bremmer, Nikki Keltner, and Richard Sargent.   To help inform our community, profiles and pictures, if they were provided, have been placed on our website and included below. 

Amy Lieb

I am Amy Lieb and I am running for my third term on the Pearl City School Board. We have raised our family in Pearl City, and currently have two boys that are very active in the district, Zachariah, 16, and Jacob, 10.  Our oldest son, Clayton, graduated from Pearl City High School last year and is attending college.  I have worked at the Lena-Winslow School District for 19 years as the District Bookkeeper, where I have been involved in every aspect of the financial part of running a school.

I am running for my third term on the school board as I believe that the Pearl City School District is a great place for our boys and all kids to attend school.  I hope to continue to be a part of the decisions that are made that affect every student in our district.  I am committed to seeing that all kids at all levels get the education, and tools they need, to succeed.

The biggest challenge that faces our district, as well as every other district in the area is to find ways to maintain a high level of education for all kids.  Based on the restricted funding that is received from the state, and no significant increase in local revenue, it’s a tough job to do!  With the dedication of our administrators, teachers, and school board, the right team is in place to put all kids and their needs first!

Wayne Crackenberger

I would like to let the community know that I am a lifelong resident of the Pearl City area. I attended Pearl City Schools and graduated in 1970. I attended Highland Community College for 2 years graduating with an Associate degree.

My wife Linda and I have been married for 43 years and have 2 children and one grandson.  Doug and Stacy both graduated from Pearl City.

Recently I retired from the Pearl City school having worked for 20 years as a janitor and head of the maintenance department.

Having worked at the school I feel that I can contribute to the Board of Education with my experience of being around the school.  Working with the administration I have knowledge of budgets and the school buildings.

The biggest challenges facing the schools today would have to be the funding from the state.  We as the school have to continue to provide the best education possible and to move forward with the new technology being created.

Also facing our schools is the aging sections of the school building. These areas need to be addressed.

Communications are vital in the running of the school and I would be open to talking with anyone who has questions.

 Ashley Gronewold

            My name is Ashley Gronewold and I am running for the Pearl City School Board. I grew up in Pearl City and am an alum of Pearl City High School. My family has lived and been actively involved in the Pearl City community for several generations. When my husband and I married, our number one priority in purchasing our first home, was the school district in which our children would grow up in. We looked into several surrounding communities, but ultimately my roots were here, and I am proud to call Pearl City home. My husband, Andrew, and I live in town with our 3 children- Weston (10), Colton (6), and Diem (4). I am employed full time with Sentry Insurance in the IT Department as a Quality Assurance Associate. I enjoy assisting my husband with the organizational part of his coaching of our boys, in both football and basketball. 

Our family is very active in the community. I have seen that our community is becoming more united and more individuals are getting involved in different aspects of our community. I, myself, have been inspired by individuals becoming more involved in the community, and I felt it was necessary for me to become more involved- as a parent, a taxpayer, neighbor, and native. Our school is a strong base for our community to continue to grow and become more united.

I am seeking to be elected as a member of the Pearl City School Board to serve our community. I want to see Pearl City Schools thrive in this generation. I have seen many changes in the school over the years, and would love to continue to see the school grow and develop in a positive direction. These children are our future! To help the school move forward, well-educated decisions will need to be made by the School Board, with the current and future generations in mind.  If elected to the School Board, I feel I will be able to contribute to the decisions that need to be made, with an open mind, and with present and future goals.

The biggest challenge for Pearl City Schools, at the current time, is the State of Illinois not passing a budget for several years. The State’s budget is impacting our community in several ways, including but not limited to:  Pearl City School, State Employees, and Business/Homeowners involved with the FEMA buyout on the North Side of Pearl City.

The school needs to continue being financially responsible in the future. Preparing a balanced budget for the school will remain an obstacle for Pearl City because of the lack of State funding. While the State of Illinois continues with financial instability, our school will be impacted tremendously. If elected, I plan to assist in making these hard financial decisions that will impact the future of our students, teachers, administration, and community.

Chad Bremmer

Hi. I'm Chad Bremmer and I am hoping to be re-elected to the Pearl City School Board. My wife Deb and I operate a grain and livestock farm south of Pearl City with my brother Ross and his family and my parents. We have three boys, Ben is in 7th grade, Ethan is in 4th grade, and Eli is in 2nd grade.

I would like to continue to serve on the School Board to help shape the future of Pearl City Schools. We have a GREAT school and a community to be proud of. Our test scores continue to be high and our staff does a tremendous job preparing our students to succeed in life! I would like to play a part in continuing our academic excellence.

By far, the biggest issue facing our school and most others is school funding.  The State of Illinois has failed to meet its financial obligations to our school for the last 6 years. Due to these reductions we have been forced to dip into our reserves and will continue to rely on them for the foreseeable future.  We need to continue to be proactive in finding ways to reduce spending while maintaining a quality and well-rounded education for our students.

I will continue to do my best in making decisions that are in the best interest of our students and our school utilizing the limited resources we have available. I would appreciate your vote on April 4th!

Nikki Keltner

My name is Nikki Keltner, it has been an honor and a privilege to serve the past four years on the Pearl City School Board and I am running for re-election.  I would like to continue to be part of the Pearl City School Board to serve our school and our community. I believe in serving the community that we live in to make it a better place for all of us.  In the past four years, the state has had a difficult time meeting its financial obligations and that issue has grown.  As I write this, the state is still without a budget and the future is uncertain, so it is up to us locally to keep the school going on very limited funds being mindful of the local taxpayers and keeping the future of our students in mind.

A little about my family and myself:  I grew up in Pearl City and graduated from Pearl City High School.  I obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Horticulture/Agribusiness from Illinois State University.  Following college, I married Ryan Keltner and we settled in our hometown on the family centennial farm where we live today with our three boys.  Together with Ryan’s family, we run a grain and livestock farm.  Throughout the years in addition to helping with the farm and the farm business records, I worked in several area greenhouses and flower shops as a floral designer, greenhouse grower, and retail sales.  Currently I work at the University of Illinois Extension serving Stephenson County as a program coordinator.  My responsibilities include offering educational programs to the public in the areas of agriculture, natural resources and horticulture.  I work closely with stakeholders and Extension Educators to assess the needs of our county and region and develop programs to meet those needs.  In addition to my professional career, I have served as the Kent Township Clerk, Board of Education and the Board of Youth at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Lena, and the Conservation and Agricultural Partners Board.  I have completed the Illinois Farm Bureau Agriculture Leaders of Tomorrow and the Highland Leadership Institute. Our entire family is active with the Pearl City Hornets 4H Club and the Pearl City FFA.

Our family is deeply vested in this community, a community that we love. I want to see the Pearl City School System remain strong and viable for future generations and to continue to graduate talented, well rounded students that are ready for a career or college.

Richard Sargent

I’m a 44 years old self-employed business owner. I have owned Sargent Welding in the Pearl City area for the past 7 years. I have lived and worked in the community for 17 years. I have worked on several farms in my life and was an owner operator of a semi for 8 years. Went back to farming with my father-in-law Rodney Block. After leaving Block farms I opened my welding shop I currently own and operate. I have been an extremely active parent with the boy scouts watching my oldest son Dakota Sargent Eagle out. He has since graduated high school (Northeast Iowa Community College) and started his own machining business.   Denver Sargent is now working on his eagle project and helps several farmers in the area. My youngest child is my daughter, Montana Sargent an eighth grader. She likes to ride horse in her spare time. I have been married 23 years to my wife Nicole Sargent who is employed at goodwill.

As a business owner it concerns me that the school can’t balance a budget and have some concerns with how certain issues are being handled. I have no intent on getting grid of any sports or any other after school activities.

The budget is the biggest issue that needs to be addressed.


The candidate’s bios are presented exactly how they were submitted to the District Office.  If you have any questions, contact me at 815-443-2715.

Tim Thill                                                                                                                                                                                     Superintendent, Pearl City Schools