May 18, 2018 – West Bend, WI – The School Board in West Bend Joint School District #1 has selected three finalists for the position of superintendent for the district.
The finalists include Donald Kirkegaard, secretary of education, State of South Dakota, Pierre, South Dakota; Christopher Peterson, superintendent, Howards Grove School District, Howards Grove, Wisconsin; and Thomas Hoh, executive director of secondary education, Green Bay Area Public School District, Green Bay, Wisconsin.
“I am impressed with the overwhelming quality of the 43 candidates who were recruited and applied for our superintendent position,” said School Board President Joel Ongert. “The search firm we hired did a great job, which led to an outstanding group of finalists.”
Donald A. Kirkegaard — Prior to being appointed by the governor of South Dakota as secretary of education for the state in 2017, Kirkegaard was superintendent of the Meade School District and Britton-Hecla School District for nearly 23 years. He was also a principal in the Britton-Hecla School District for six years. Kirkegaard earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and economics from South Dakota State University, a master’s degree in school administration from Northern State University, and an educational specialist degree in school district administration from the University of South Dakota.
Christopher D. Peterson — Christopher Peterson has 23 years of experience in public education, including nine as superintendent of Howards Grove School District. His experience includes serving as principal in the Manitowoc Public School District, Kimberly Area School District, and the School District of Wausaukee, and teaching in the Little Chute Area School District. Peterson earned a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, a master’s degree in educational administration from Marian University, superintendent certification from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and is working on a doctorate at Marian University.
Thomas J. Hoh, Ph.D. — Thomas Hoh has 20 years of experience in public education and currently serves as the executive director of secondary education for the Green Bay Area Public School District. Prior to joining the Green Bay Area Public School District, Hoh was a principal in the Ripon Area School District and also worked in the Kaukauna Area School District and Neenah Joint School District. Hoh earned his bachelor’s degree in education and master’s degree in educational leadership and policy analysis from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He earned a doctorate in education leadership from Marian University.
The board and district employees will interview each of the finalists a second time next week when they spend a day visiting the West Bend School District. Parents and residents have the opportunity to meet each candidate for informal conversations at the Silverbrook Intermediate School library, 120 N. Silverbrook Drive, West Bend, at 4 p.m. on May 22, 23, and 24.
The board intends to vote on its selection of the next superintendent on May 24, 2018, although contract details and agreements are anticipated to take several days. It is expected the successful candidate will officially join the district on July 1, 2018.
Determining three final candidates is the culmination of a comprehensive search by the board with the assistance of the search firm McPherson & Jacobson LLC. The search process included facilitated work sessions to determine the board’s criteria for a superintendent. In addition, the district asked staff and families to complete a questionnaire regarding attributes for a new superintendent. Finally, McPherson & Jacobson facilitated five focus groups with various stakeholders including community members, administrators, teachers, students, and parents.
After carefully assessing the qualifications of candidates in relation to the candidate profile created after the focus groups and board sessions, the board developed a “short list” of 10 candidates from a pool of 43. Six semi-finalists were then interviewed this week in West Bend.