The news spread quickly across the Internet on Wednesday afternoon regarding West Bend School Superintendent Ted Neitzke resigning
at the end of the year.
That change now places added importance on the April 5 election.
Four people, Ken Schmidt, Tiffany Larson, Jennifer Donath and Randy Marquardt, are running for two seats on the West Bend School Board. That board will be charged with the task of finding a new superintendent.
All the candidates were asked to respond to the news about Neitzke resigning and how they would approach the hiring process. Their answers are posted in the order in which their names will appear on the April 5 ballot.
Ken Schmidt: I was surprised to hear that Superintendent Neitzke was resigning. He was a very professional, talented and energetic person who will be difficult to replace.
The approach I would suggest is what is usually done in a search for filling a position of this importance. I have been involved in a search for replacing three college presidents and so I do have knowledge of the process of finding and retaining the services of a person for a high level academic administrative position. I would suggest developing a list of desirable strengths and talents and hiring a search firm to generate a list of qualified candidates. I have been involved in the process of choosing a new president for a college three times. It is a process that requires patience, diligence and foresight.
Tiffany Larson: I have heard for some time that Ted was interviewing and exploring a variety of employment options so the news did not surprise me. I wish Ted the best on this endeavor.
Certainly the school board has an important job both in hiring a new high school principal and a superintendent. The individual (s) should have a strong moral code of conduct, positive experience in management, and meet all educational/professional requirements at the time of hire. I trust all members of the school board respect the enormous responsibility and will do their due diligence to attract candidates with exceptional qualifications, integrity, and complete investment in West Bend schools and the surrounding community.
Jenn Donath: I want to thank Mr. Neitzke for his service to our District and congratulate him on this exciting opportunity with CESA 6. It’s been a pleasure getting to know Mr. Neitzke in the past few months and I wish him well in his future endeavors.
Because Mr. Greymont is also leaving, I see the benefits of filling at least one position (high school principal or district superintendent) from within to make the adjustment period easier. However, there are also benefits to having an outsider’s perspective and being open to change. The new superintendent will have the power to bring significant changes in our District, and that is why it is essential to conduct a search that invites qualified people from both inside and outside of the District to apply.
As the board begins the hiring process it is important to
*select an initial pool of candidates from both inside and outside of the District
*view this as a positive opportunity to vet the candidates and discover what qualities each one can bring to our District
*take the time necessary to make a well-informed decision on who will be the best leader versus making a hasty decision out of panic to fill this important position
*be open to new perspectives and give them respectful consideration before embracing or rejecting change
*promote transparency so the community also learns about the candidates and their qualifications
*encourage public opinion so the community also has a voice in the hiring process—which also means a voice in the direction our District is heading.
Randy Marquardt: I’m very disappointed and a little angry that we’ve driven another tremendous asset out of this district with our negativity and I’m frustrated with it all. We will be leading as a board next week to talk about what’s next.