From the Washington County Insider… here they are:
• Dr. Dean Gorrell, current Superintendent of the Verona Area School District, Verona, Wisconsin
• Dr. Brenda Lewis, current Assistant Superintendent of the Rochester Public Schools, Rochester, Minnesota
• Mr. Erik Olson, current Assistant Superintendent of Operations and Continuous Improvement of the Sun Prairie Area School District, Sun Prairie, Wisconsin
Not privy to the information available to the Board and head hunter firm and don’t want to prejudge anyone’s qualifications or suitability for the West Bend School District job, but on first blush, this slate seems pretty much “weak sauce”. One seems to have about 1 year experience as Asst. Superintendent, the other 3 years as Asst. Superintendent. One has many years experience, but appears to be making a big effort to leave his current position – West Bend is the 5th school district this spring where he has been selected as a finalist.
Hope the Board has a “Plan B” in case none of these are the ideal candidate – should have taken your column advice seriously – appoint an “interim” for a year and take the time to conduct a proper recruitment.
It’s not surprising West Bend is struggling to find a high-caliber candidate. West Bend has a reputation around the state as being a hostile work environment, negative culture, and high turnover of administrators. This reputation is further compounded by the community reputation of being extremist, with highly polarizing polical views and actions, and a general sense of being a hostile community.
People have said, “I’d never work in West Bend.” If I’m not in education and am hearing this I can only imagine was those inside education circles are saying!
Even if you wait a year, we will still be struggling to find the highest caliber of candidates. The community has to come together before we will attract the best.
The biggest reason the pool is shallow is because there is a documented shortage of people in the field. This is not a new phenomenon. This has been an issue for well over 15 years and some would say even longer. Add to that the fact that WB community has been shooting itself in the foot for the better part of the last 5 years with all of the Common Sense Citizen idiots on the school board and you have a less than stellar reputation. That was not always the case and it is sad to see a great institution struggling so much.
For the record, I did some minor investigating and the guy from Sun Prarie comes very highly recommended by people at many different levels of education. That does not guarantee he will be the greatest ever, but he is no slouch either.
The other two have solid leadership backgrounds. Verona is a tough place to keep people happy.
Looks like field has narrowed to 2 candidates – guy from Verona has pulled out. The only candidate with Superintendent experience. Still think Owen was right that Board should have appointed interim and taken a year to do a recruitment – especially considering that there is a documented shortage of people in the firld for rhe past 15 years.
(Board should have appointed interim and taken a year to do a recruitment – especially considering that there is a documented shortage of people in the firld for rhe past 15 years.)
This would make no difference. There will not be more candidates out there next year just a small crop of the same kind of people.
Honestly, this district had one of the best Supt. in the state with Pat Herdrich. The crazies like Bart chased her off.
Life is not perfect under any leader, but Pat did an outstanding job. The community is reaping what it has sown.
Who knows who the next bunch of crazies will be that chase off the next Superintendent after a few years. I had heard that nowadays don’t expect more than 5-6 years out of a Superintendent before they have to move on – that it is only a matter of time before they get on the wrong side of an issue with a loud constituency or a new Board. I think Herdrich was 6 years, Neitzke 5 years, the one before both of them (Dr. Eckhart – came from Minnesota) was 3 years, maybe. One candidate has been 3 years as Asst. Superintendent, the other one 2 years. Same thing with principals – last year Waukesha turned over 50% – more than West Bend.