Contract $98,000; Benefits $30,000
Wis. DPI Supt. comp. $121,307
Cost per student Mercer $20,146,
Wis. $12,942, Nation $10,667
ACT comp. score Mercer 17.0,
Wis. 19.6, Lakeland UHS 20.0,
Hurley 18.7; perfect score 36.0
Mercer DPI Report Card score
lowest of all 422 Wis. schools

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Is This Collusion?
Some Mercer citizens have said that they are confused by the shenanigans and deceptions going on at School Board meetings.  Here is an attempt to explain a very clumsy and poorly executed plot designed to keep damaging information away from Mercer taxpayers.
·        Three of the five members of the School Board –- Noel Brandt, Deanna Pierpont and Micki Pierce-Holstrom -- have been completely controlled by Administrator Erik Torkelson.  Members Karl Anderson and Christa Reinert are not.

·        One of the three, Board President Noel Brandt, submitted a resignation letter effective with the February School Board meeting.

·        Torkelson put the resignation on the February meeting agenda without realizing the consequences --  that Board Vice President Karl Anderson would get to set the agendas for the School Board meetings and that those agendas might include items embarrassing to Torkelson, like his excessive pay and poor performance, the unsatisfactory educational results, mismanagement and misspending, and several on-going investigations.

·        When Anderson, as Acting Board President, tried to propose agenda items for the March School Board meeting, Torkelson told him that Brandt would being doing that, even though Brandt had resigned.

·        The on-again, off-again resignation resulted in Brandt communicating that he would resign effective with the April Board meeting, even though he had already resigned and has moved out of the area.

·        Board members Pierpont and Pierce were directed to stay away from the February and March meetings resulting in a lack of a quorum that prevented school business from being conducted. 

·        Pierpont and Pierce had taken oaths office which commit them to “faithfully and impartially discharge the duties“ as School Board members. They are being paid by Mercer taxpayers to abide by that oath. Yet they have been deliberately absent from two consecutive meetings bringing school business to a standstill.  They have done a disservice to the students, staff and the community. 

We are reluctant to use the words “collusion” or “conspiracy” because they seem to be overused terms in the national political arena.  But how else would you describe these Torkelson-directed antics?



  1. For the record, Micki Pierce-Holstrom owns Century 21 Pierce Realty in Mercer. In addition to this breach of her oath of office she was school board treasurer when thousands of taxpayer Fund 80 dollars was misspent (DPI findings June 26, 2018)

  2. One word describes the reason for their actions IMO, guilty.

  3. I wish that any part of this was surprising, but unfortunately, it’s exactly what we should expect from this administrator and his yes-men. They’ve been “colluding” since long before the term was popular in the national political arena. At this point, I guess at least we can say that they’re predictable?

    (From yet another “disgruntled ex-employee.”)

  4. Mr Torkelson’s last ditch efforts to discredit current school board members is not working! His abhorrent behavior is reinforcing the fact that he is not fit to educate children. All Mercer residents need to vote for Christa Reinert and Jim Hannemann. The last day for early voting at the town hall is Friday 3-29-19 from 8am to 4pm. The general election is Tuesday 4-2-19. PLEASE GET OUT AND VOTE!!

  5. I want to thank Christa Reinert for saving the Mercer School District $106,322. The Committee for Negative Action tried to deride her for moving her two children out of district in order for them to get a better education. They said it cost Mercer School $42,364 for the three years her two children were transferred out. If the two children had stayed in Mercer it would have cost taxpayers $148,686. ($24,781 per child per year X 2 children X 3 years -- based upon DPI enrollment statistics for Mercer K-12 of 142 student divided into 2018-19 Mercer budget of $3,518,936). THANK YOU, CHRISTA REINERT.

  6. We don’t want to belabor this, but the Committee for Negative Action made another big faux pas. It quoted Judge Pat Madden admonishing Christa Reinert in a court case involving the showing by then school board member Kelly Kohegyi of the sexually depraved movie “50 Shades of Grey” to young Mercer school girls in her back seat of her vehicle. The judge based his statement on what Torkeson and Pierpont had lied about and said was an email written by Christa, but was later proven to be written by another person. The Committee for Negative Action conveniently never bothered to give the full story. Despicable people.

  7. You people are the most despicable I have ever encountered in my life. You anonymous writers are cowards, liars and frauds. Keep ruining people’s lives. You will get what you deserve!

  8. To the good people of Mercer, get out and vote! If you believe the children of your community should be in a healthy school environment that fosters honesty, hard work and safety, then Erik Torkelson has to go.
    In my twenty or so years in and around education circles, and having worked closely with several other administrators.and principals, I have never met anyone less effective as a leader than Torkelson. He is dead weight paid for by the tax payer. He is an impediment to student success because he and his school board supporters look out for themselves first and only. He is good at one thing; manipulating others. This is why he always wants to meet with staff one on one. I think most people involved with him have fallen victim to his sway even though they are decent themselves. Working in education is about service to others; it does NOT run well when handled like a multi level marketing business led by a grifter sales man. My family moved away because the school culture (which Torkelson proudly acts like he is a master at developing) was and is so toxic that I did not even feel sure my own kids were safe at Mercer School. How can a place be secure when it’s leadership is completely unaware of what’s going on inside the building. The list of things I experienced or witnessed Torkelson do that were negative indicators about his true character and abilities is too long to list. Five years teaching their illustrated to me that anything good happened due to hard work on the part of the teaching staff, unaided in any real way by Torkelson. Now is the chance for Mercer residents to effect change. Get out and vote.

    1. If I recall history correctly, weren't Hitler and Stalin also proud of the cultures they created?

  9. AnonymousMarch 30, 2019 at 10:05 AM
    Add me to the list of disgusted ex-Mercer (Torkelson) employees. Torkelson is an impedement to quality education. I found the actions of him, his Board comrades and his administrative staff of Thompson(s), Kussard, Boltz and to be extremely alarming and disturbing.

    With Christa Reinert re-elected and the addition of Jim Hannemann, the new board should demand a refund of his salary and that of his board comrades. Additionally the loss of his educational licenses, money for damages (and they wouldn't have enough to compensate for all the damages) and this should include (Redacted). Torkelson's idea of education is that everyone is there for his whims. He has to go..

    Please, please, please, VOTE for Reinert and Hannemann.