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Use of fake Facebook profile leads to Holmen School Board president’s resignation



FILE - Holmen High School

Using a fake Facebook profile has led to the early retirement of Cheryl Hancock from one La Crosse business and resignation from a local school board.


Hours after announcing her retirement a month early from the Coulee Recovery Center in La Crosse, Hancock, the Holmen School Board President, resigned from the board at a closed session meeting Monday.

Last week, Hancock revealed she had been using a fake Facebook profile. She had been making comments on various post, including ones that dealt with the Holmen School Board elections held last month. Hancock was not up for re-election. She was also re-elected school board president by a 4-2 vote, after revealing she had been using a fake Facebook profile.

After Monday’s 90-minute closed session, Holmen School District communications specialist Travis Judell released a statement prepared by the school board. Part of that talked of the “Board Policy on Board Ethics,” and that board members felt part of that policy had been violated, leading to Hancock’s resignation, which comes after 26 years of service in the district.

The Coulee Recovery Center announced Monday that Rita Von Haden would take over as executive director for Hancock.

“This will allow me time to reflect on my personal well being and those who are closest to me,” the statement read in part.

Below are both Hancock’s statement in regards to her early retirement, which was to happen June 30, as well as the Holmen School Board statement under that.

Here’s Hancock’s full statement in regards to her early retirement:

“With all that is going on surrounding the Holmen School Board I have made the decision to ask the board of the Coulee Recovery Center to retire earlier than my planned date of June 30th and they have accepted.

“This will allow me time to reflect on my personal well being and those who are closest to me.

“I am so proud of all the things we have accomplished at Coulee since I began there in 2015. While many will focus on the successful Capital Campaign to build that beautiful building and establish a permanent endowment, I am proudest of the team we have built there and the countless people we have helped.

“My best wishes to Rita Von Haden who was selected to serve as my successor. Rita is an exceptionally talented young woman with a passion for the work we do at Coulee. She has spent most of her professional career at Coulee and is ready for the next step in the organization.

“I have nothing but love and admiration for Team Coulee and wish them all the best in the future.”

Here is the Holmen School Board statement:

As a result of tonight’s Holmen School Board of Education special meeting, Cheryl Hancock has resigned from the board effective immediately. 
I wanted to share with you a statement read tonight from the Holmen School Board of Education: 

“Concerned Citizens of Holmen School District, 

“As members of the Holmen School Board, we have committed ourselves to making our school district the best place that it can possibly be. We have committed ourselves to acting in the best interest of all of the district’s children. While we have faced many challenges over the past few years, our most recent challenge involves our own School Board President, Cheryl Hancock. Ms. Hancock has admitted to using social media to interact with community members regarding community issues.

“First and foremost, we board members would like to extend a sincere apology to anyone who was impacted by these interactions on social media. Next, we would like to thank the many community members who reached out and shared with us their perspectives on these recent events. Many of you stated in your letters that our children are watching and inappropriate actions must have consequences.

“We would like to be clear that this type of behavior has no place on our school board and in our community. When board members are elected, they are required to adhere to a Board Policy on Board Ethics. Within that policy, it states that “the Board and its members will conduct themselves with integrity and high ethical principles in order to model the behaviors expected of staff and students and maintain public confidence and credibility.” We feel the intent of this policy has been violated. Therefore, I am officially notifying the Holmen School District community that as of this evening, Ms. Hancock has resigned her position of Board President and as a member of the Holmen School Board.  

“Tonight, the board took the first step to rebuild the trust, integrity, confidence, and credibility that you expect of us as leaders in our community. I hope to move forward from this both as a community and as a School Board. We will work tirelessly at rebuilding relationships and bringing our community together so that the entire Holmen community can be proud of our public schools.

We want to acknowledge and thank Cheryl Hancock for her service to the district over the past 26 years. Due to her steadfast commitment to the District, we are proud of the many accomplishments under her leadership.”

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