West Bend Superintendent Resigns at End of School Year

This is some news to consider right before the school board election. From the Washington County Insider:

Ted Neitzke, superintendent of the West Bend School District for the past five years, announced today that he will resign at the end of the school year.

“It will be extraordinarily difficult to say good-bye to Ted,” said Therese Sizer, West Bend School District Board of Education member. “He is that rare individual who can embrace challenges and remain optimistic in his resolve to provide the best education for our children. He has faith in our students, our teachers and our community. He has this uncanny ability to reject the status quo and instead envision the greatness in our children. It was always about their futures.”

Neitzke has served the West Bend School District since 2004 in various positions. From 2004-2009, Neitzke was the principal at Badger Middle School. From 2009-2011 he served as the assistant superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction and Communication before being named superintendent in 2011.

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Neitzke is an active member of the community. He served as the Campaign Chair for the United Way of Washington County 2015 Campaign; Board President of Riveredge Nature Center; Board of Directors for Froedtert and Medical College of Wisconsin St. Joseph’s Hospital; Board of Directors for the Volunteer Center of Washington County; Vice President of the Board of Directors for the Economic Development Corporation of West Bend; founding member of the Washington County Workforce Alliance; Board of Directors for the West Bend Area Chamber of Commerce; Board of Directors for the West Bend Public Schools Foundation; member of West Bend Noon Rotary, and past Board of Directors for the West Bend Community Memorial Library.

Neitzke will become the Chief Education Officer for CESA 6 starting July 1, 2016. Located in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, CESA 6 serves 42 public school districts in Dodge, Fond du Lac, Green Lake, Outagamie, Washington, Waupaca, Waushara, and Winnebago counties to help district administrators, principals and teachers find solutions to the educational needs of students, classrooms, schools and school districts.

First, congrats to Ted Neitzke. This is a big opportunity for him. As you can see, he is heavily involved in West Bend and I assume he will resign from most, if not all, of those other positions too. He will be missed by the district and by the community of West Bend. He has a lot to be proud of for his 12 years working for the West Bend school district.

Second, this makes the school board election on April 5th all that much more important. The school board will have to choose Neitzke’s replacement. The choice they make will set the direction of the district for years. Do they choose a reformer who will make radical changes? If so, what changes? Do they choose someone, perhaps from the current staff, who will keep things moving on the current trajectory? Do they choose someone who is tight with the teachers and the union? Do they choose someone who will be aggressive in budgeting?

It’s a big choice. I hope the school board candidates begin formulating an idea of the kind of person they would like to see replace Neitzke so that the voters can take it into account.