Feb. 13, 2018 – West Bend, WI – At Monday night’s West Bend School Board meeting, during the 3-minute public comment portion, former West Bend School Board President Charlie Hillman offered some wisdom on the district’s search for a new superintendent.
“I’ve walked a mile in your shoes,” said Hillman who explained his role on a school board that had to dismiss a superintendent and hire a new one.
At that time the board dismissed Randall Eckart and conducted a search to eventually hire Dr. Patricia Herdrich.
Currently the board is looking for a superintendent to replace Erik Olson
On Monday night, Hillman offered the board three pieces of advice.
Maintain high expectation. “West Bend has historically had a very good reputation in the state. There are 426 public school districts in Wisconsin and West Bend is in the top 5 percent in terms of size. What that means is there are 400 sitting superintendents in Wisconsin for whom coming to West Bend would be a step up.”
“If you look at the districts that are bigger than we are and you add another 20 to 30 assistant superintendents and that might be interested and I think we might have what we need right here.”
“We are a desirable district and we deserve top talent and we should act like it.”
Take your time. “This is the most important task the school board has. We all hope for a hire who will settle in West Bend. In order to take enough time to ensure success is to have a parallel effort on an interim superintendent. It’s a common gate for retiring superintendents to double dip for a while and are flexible in their tenures.”
“The idea is to hire an interim to shore up administrative resources at central office, help us with the selection of a superintendent and then go away.”
There are at least 40 people who may be interested.
Involve the community. “When the city had to replace TJ Justice as an administrator it was very clear they could not make a mistake and wisely they brought in community groups. The more people you involve the less probability of making a mistake.”
On a side note: There has been scuttlebutt in the community as two local names keep coming up for the superintendent job. John Engstrom is an administrator in the Friess Lake School District. That district is consolidating with Richfield Joint #1. A new administrator has been selected for that Holy Hill Area School District. That new administrator, Tara Villalobos will start July 1.
Engstrom worked in the West Bend School District before leaving for Friess Lake around 2012.
Another name is Jim Curler, currently the assistant superintendent in the Slinger School District. Curler was also previously employed in the WBSD for over 13 years as principal at the high schools.
In January 2018 after the job for a new superintendent in West Bend was posted at the Wisconsin Education Career Access Network website Tiffany Larson, West Bend School Board president, was asked about the two possible candidates.
Her response was “At this time the board encourages all qualified candidates to submit their applications via WECAN, we have not discussed individuals.”
The School Board will meet Monday, Feb. 19 “to go over the executive search firms for the superintendent search. The board will interview the search firms,” according to assistant superintendent of teaching and learning/ lead district administrator Laura Jackson.