Boots & Sabers

The blogging will continue until morale improves...


Everything but tech support.

0849, 09 Mar 16

Consistent Performance in Menomonee Falls

The voters of Menomonee Falls will vote on a pair of school referenda in April. They are:


Operational funding would exceed the revenue limit by $1,250,000 in the 2016-2017 school year and by an additional $1,250,000 a year in each of the 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 school years, for a total of $3,750,000 for the 2018-2019 school year and remain at $3,750,000 each year…


The district wants $32.7 million NOW to spend on a laundry list of items and a tax increase FOREVER to spend on whatever they can think of. Both of these referenda are ridiculous, but the one to permanently increase taxes above the state limit is downright offensive. But as West Bend begins the search for a new superintendent, it’s worth taking note of what’s going on in Menomonee Falls.

The superintendent of the Menomonee Falls district is Pat Greco, who used to be Pat Herdrich when she was the superintendent of the West Bend School District. During her tenure in West Bend, she pushed for multiple referenda – including what was the state’s largest ever at $119 million. It was always the same complaints about buildings falling down and education suffering. The constant turmoil created a lot of community strife and raucous meetings. But the teachers loved Herdrich.

Fast forward into Ted Neitzke tenure. We no longer hear about buildings falling down because the district has largely shored up maintenance and is even putting aside money to replace Jackson Elementary in the future without having to ask for more money. The district has implemented innovations like the very popular walk-in clinic for staff, a charter school, more vocational education and online offerings, and the district is much more closely aligned with the local business community and community in general. But there is a cabal of grumpy teachers (mainly at the high schools) who hate Neitzke and are cheering his resignation.

As the School Board looks for a new superintendent, they have to ask themselves… do they want another Neitzke or another Herdrich? While I don’t always see eye to eye with Neitzke on policy, I’ll take a Neitzke over a Herdrich every day of the week and twice on Sundays.


0849, 09 March 2016


  1. randy

    The old saying always rings true in politics. You can make some people happy all of the time but you will never make all of the people happy. It’s too bad a few people can influence an entire body of people with their whining.

  2. Mark Maley

    A combination of the best qualities of both would be optimal

    Ted gave the community what it wanted , someone who would
    Tell them that there was plenty of $ and still get the infrastructure addressed
    Along the way , he lost the teachers and test scores are routinely lower than our best competitor – Slinger

    I did see rampant sexism towards Dr Herdrich when she was here .
    The folks who deny that will say it was around her referendum requests .

    She got rid of underperforming teachers and the teachers who worked for her know she was a demanding , performance based boss

    My opinion is that Dr Herdrich promoted far too few people from within
    And too often had administrators come in from afar only to leave w/in a year

    Ted’s hire of the Principal and approval of the East AD hire were catastrophic personnel decisions in terms of the districts reputation

    How many administrators is the right number is a call for someone else

    We need a Super who can lead the troops and keep the budget in line
    The left and right in this community disregard any salient points the other side makes

    That makes the job less than attractive to any candidate with the skill set I’ve described to want anything to do with this district

  3. Anonymous

    I will have to respectfully disagree with Owen and say “none of the above”. What is needed is some kind of superintendent willing to come in and kick some ass big time, a “clean the house” type. I heard that a superintendent hired at a neighboring school district was given the mandate to clean that house. Neitzke & Herdrich (Greco) endured a large amount of push back during their tenures. I liked both of them and I think Neitzke did a good job of carrying through on the positive things that Herdrich (Greco) brought to the district during her tenure. Neitzke was an inside hire & Herdrich (Greco) was previously employed with the school district. Someone from outside would be the best choice.

    Issue will be what type of candidate will accept a position in West Bend. We don’t need someone looking for a “soft-landing” where they can just idle for a few years before retirement. School administrators are a mobile group – they cycle in and out of various districts building their resume – get experience at various levels of administration and enrollment size – principal, curriculum directors, and other admin positions. Which presents a challenge for the “up & comers” – they will be metric driven as proven performance will be necessary for their career path. Since they serve constituencies which are sometimes at odds with each other there is the potential for hurt feelings and community “chatter” (like the Benders group) that can hurt their chances for future opportunities. In other words, West Bend could (or maybe already) be perceived as a “career killer” type of district.

    Perhaps a seasoned Superintendent who is willing to spend the balance of his/her career doing what needs to be done here, who is of the type I allude to in my 2nd sentence. Someone willing to go out in a blaze of glory, so to say. Spend 2 or 3 years cleaning the house, and then turn the keys over to a young up and comer on an upward career trajectory.

    That being said, I am pessimistic that in the current climate a quality superintendent can be recruited. We do have a capable board right now & I feel empathy for the position they are in. I am sure that potential hirees will be watching the upcoming election of school board members quite closely – there is the potential for up to 2 replacements. We have one who is cofounder of the group that has shown itself to be quite negative and unprofessional in their approach to discussing those issues. We have another candidate who is perceived as being “in their pocket” and has publicly expressed negativity about the current administration in a subtle way. We have an experienced leader on board right now. The 4th person is kind of a stealth candidate – not very visible so it is hard to know, but he does look good on paper, especially his previous experience being on boards involved in hiring top level administrators.

    Bottom line, I suspect an inside hire may be the only choice available to West Bend, and the cycle will be repeated.

  4. Anonymous

    You make mention of grumpy high school teachers – don’t know many at this time – that perspective should change in about 2 years.

    An executive principal replacement is being recruited at this time. I think a high level administrator is currently pulling double duty in current position as well as being involved in the transition to a new principal. My idea would be that the Board renegotiate the contract with the search firm – put the recruitment on hold for the following year, have this high level administrator be the acting principal at the high school for the following year, and then next year have the search firm pick up anew and present qualified applicants after the new superintendent is “in the saddle”. That would be a good way to hand over the reins of leadership.

  5. Anon

    Nice to see the President of the School Board calling concerned parents ‘whiners’. Randy, your and Ted’s spending on failed crap makes Obama look conservative.

  6. Tanya

    Isn’t just parents doing the “whining” – a few WEAC members, and some that don’t have any connections to the WBSD: not employed there, not WBSD parent, grandparent, or taxpayer – just Facebook friends with some of the members and active in WEAC & Democratic party issues. “Randy” overstates the impact of “parents” – or maybe he was just referring to the shit-stirrers in general terms, a few who might actually be parents.


  1. More | DAILY WISCONSIN - […] Via Consistent Performance in Menomonee Falls @ Boots & Sabers. […]

Pin It on Pinterest