Boots & Sabers

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0959, 01 Feb 20

West Bend’s School Superintendent Resigns

Sigh… here we go again. What is this? Four superintendents in the last five years?

WEST BEND — West Bend School District Superintendent Don Kirkegaard is leaving his position at the end of the school year and returning to his home state of South Dakota. He joined the district in July 2018 after 23 years of experience in education, including serving as secretary of education for South Dakota.

Kirkegaard said while he enjoys his current position, moving back home is the best decision for himself and his wife.

“This is just a chance to be back in the home we built brand new a few years ago and to be by family and friends,” he said. There is much to be missed, he said, and he will keep with him the memories and lessons.

Frankly, I can’t blame him. Working for this school board would be torture. On the other hand, it sure seems like he never had both feet in Wisconsin. He didn’t sell his house in South Dakota? He didn’t know when he took the job 18 months ago that he’d be 850 miles from the rest of his family? My sense is that he was brought in to shepherd the passage of the referendum and building program. When that was rejected, it was time to leave.

CORRECTION: This will actually be the 5th superintendent in four years.


0959, 01 February 2020


  1. Kevin Scheunemann

    Elected school boards are dysfunction most of the time.

  2. Le Roi du Nord

    Do tell k, why is that? Isn’t an elected board a result of democracy in action?

  3. Mark Hoefert

    What I said here two weeks ago, in reference to the dysfunction.

    I am impressed with the depth of experience that Kirkegaard has – with that and getting closer to retirement age he would have no problem finding a soft landing at an appreciative school district and competent Board that is looking for an interim Superintendent.

    I expect that landing to be known relatively soon.

  4. Kevin Scheunemann


    Education is too important, with too many diverse interests to being together in a one size fits all godlessness.

    It becomes a dysfunctional fight nearly 100% of time, especially now that liberals embrace teaching kids every moral perversion under the sun.

  5. Mar

    How many of those 5 were interim superintendents?

  6. Le Roi du Nord


    Could you provide factual evidence of the “nearly 100%” claim? Facts would be a bonus. Thanks

  7. Mark Hoefert

    @ Mar

    1 Interim Superintendent


    Ted Nietzke: left 6/2016 after a new Board coalition started taking over in spring of that year. Made it quite obvious that their goal was to see him gone. He is now CEO of CESA 6.

    Erik Olson:  started 7/2016.  Was put on leave with pay about 7/2017.  Was paid through 6/2018.

    Laura Jackson: Assistant Superintendent became Interim Superintendent and served in that capacity through 6/2018.

    Don Kirkegaard: started 7/2018. Laura Jackson returned to Assistant Superintendent position at the point.

    ?????: Don Kirkegaard leaving 6/2020.  So whoever serves between then and 6/2021 will be the 5th one.

  8. Mar

    I will say this, Le Roi, Kevin is right about the diverse interests. You certainly have your liberal teachers, especially in areas of reading, Social studies, art,the sciences and higher administrators.
    But in the areas of shop, PE lower administrators, like Dean’s who deal with punishment for the bad kids, they are mostly conservative.
    Special education is about split 50-50.
    It’s fun to watch watch liberal vs conservative when science teachers talk about climate change.

  9. Kevin Scheunemann

    Oh Nord,

    You demand facts from me but you never produce any facts, especially when you make scurrilous charges.

    You have no moral right to demand anything from anyone else, based on your past behavior.

    If you ever entered the realm of social decency, I would consider your request.

  10. Letsgetreal

    Mark….Ted left prior to Tiffany Larson being elected to the board.  Once she was elected she was still 1 vs. 6.   He ran away when there was a chance of one board member not being in his corner.  She didn’t even have the votes in the primary to win and he still ran away.  Then the board that consisted of 6 Ted lovers chose Erik Olson.  Prior to the next election one quit and two others chose not to run again.   What a wonderful way to support the new Super that you just hired and felt was a great choice.  You seem to have lots of information, but no real answers.

  11. Mark Hoefert

    Ted Neitzke announced his resignation during the run up to the election, but did not leave prior to the election – he served until 6/30/16.

    The coalition I speak of was formed in 2015.  They became very influential and disruptive to the administration and board with negative and nonbeneficial intentions.  It was the relentless attacking that drove him away.  He is now in a much better situation to positively and progressively impact education, both public and private.

    The consequences are showing – now that we have a 7/0 regime, there is a total disconnect between the district and the community.  A significant portion of the community no longer cares.  We no longer have community leader types running for Board positions.  The Board is more or less functioning as a PTO.

    As to the recruitment of the Superintendent after Olson, I attended one of the focus groups for parents. The consultant noted that WBSD’s ability to attract quality candidates was being negatively impacted by the public drama being displayed by the coalition.

    Owen wrote a column back then recommending an Interim Superintendent to turn things around and bring stability to the district so that a new Superintendent could start with a clean slate.

    Owen was right, that should have been tried.

    Yes I have lots of information, but not enough due to the lack of transparency of this Board and administration.  However, a lot has been learned by analyzing their attempts to put a positive spin on things.  The positive spin typically is an attempt to counteract some underlying negativity – from that one can figure what is really bothering them.

  12. Kevin Scheunemann


    Last 2 comments are Exhibit #1 and #2 on how elected school boards, government run schools suffer from dysfunction.

    I decided to point evidence out despite your past indecency to you never holding to an evidence based standard on any statenents you make when demanded. I am a forgiving guy.

  13. jjf

    Kevin, you have a better idea about how to run a public school district?  You don’t like elected boards?  You think there’s no politics or factions in a private school board?  Or a church board?  Everyone in your private organizations are on the same side, never have disagreements?

  14. Kevin Scheunemann


    Even private schools have disagreements, but we forgive and reconcile in the grace of Jesus and move in unity.    I can’t imagine operating a school or school system in godlessness without that essential component in place.  Without practicing forgiveness and reconciliation in grace of Christ it becomes a place of rage, bitterness, resentment, and grudge holding.   That is what leads to dysfunction.

    Schools are too important to left in the hands of leaders who don’t understand the grace and forgiveness of Christ.  Some leaders in public school system do understand this and practice it, but the ungodly world around them does not.


  15. jjf

    So if they agree with you, they’re OK?  If they don’t they need more Jesus?

  16. Kevin Scheunemann


    I am saying the godless world does not practice grace, forgiveness, and reconciliation in grace of Jesus. That hanging on to bitterness, rage, upset, contempt, causes dysfunction and it erupts in public school governance all the time because people have different values.

    That puts public school system at an automatic disadvantage, instantly.

  17. Le Roi du Nord

    No k, they don’t.  They only exhibit what has taken place in the WB district.  Certainly not anything like the “Elected school boards are dysfunction most of the time”, nor this “It becomes a dysfunctional fight nearly 100% of time, especially now that liberals embrace teaching kids every moral perversion under the sun”.

    Painting public school elected boards with such a broad brush serves no purpose other than to showcase your intolerance for anything or anybody that disagrees with you.

    And using your logic, and I use that term loosely regarding you, your unsupported and fact-averse claims are “scurrilous”.

  18. Kevin Scheunemann


    Menominee Falls, Waukesha, Milwaukee school Boards….shall I go on?

    The dysfunction with all of them is obvious.

    Are you in denial to simple facts?

    This is why public schools suffer, liberal denial of dysfunction.

    You can’t fix problems you are blind to.

  19. jjf

    Golly, Kevin, you seem to hang on to a great deal of”bitterness, rage, upset, contempt” and exhibit it here on a daily basis.  Are you concerned that this might cause “dysfunction?”

  20. Kevin Scheunemann


    I am just passionate about fixing problem, not enabling or feeding it.

    The same when it comes ti not giving alcoholic more alcohol. I fon’t have rage, just a desire to fix and heal.

  21. Le Roi du Nord


    If you haven’t noticed, there is a lot more to the great state of WI than that.  You should be as passionate in acquiring and retaining knowledge as you are with blaming others for your own shortcomings.


  22. Kevin Scheunemann


    I gave you 4 districts….how much more evidence would you like?   Those were the most notorious.    I could explain my local school district issues as well, but you would be just as dismissive of the problem.

    I understand you are part of the secular humanist cult and dysfunction is desirable for you.  Carry on your desirable school district dysfunction.   Don’t let me get in the way.

  23. Le Roi du Nord


    There are over 400 school districts in WI.  So you are saying that less than 1% are bad?   That gives new meaning to the word insignificant.

  24. Kevin Scheunemann


    I am saying the pattern is consistent over and over again.

    Keep your head in sand, it is what you do best.

  25. Le Roi du Nord

    No k, you did not say that.

  26. jjf

    But let’s defund the Milwaukee schools and wonder why they aren’t doing as well as the suburbs.

  27. Kevin Scheunemann

    Liberals…”nothing to see here”.


  28. Mar

    Gee, jjf, how has MPS been defunded? There budget has remained the or has gone up. And student population is slowly going down.
    And they are being defunded how?

  29. jjf

    Here’s an overview.

  30. Mar

    jjf, how can you lose money if it wasn’t given to you?
    And it certainly isn’t defunding.

  31. jjf

    Mar, I’ll let you re-read what you wrote, and tell me what you mean.

  32. Mar

    jjf, they were never defunded if they never got the money.
    That’s like saying their budget was cut when their budget actually went up.

  33. jjf

    That’s like saying there’s no such thing as fixed costs.  Can you have a classroom with seven kids?

  34. Mar

    With Milwaukee, it’s a little different, jjf. With teachers, many times, most teachers start off new and the quit after a few years to go to the suburbs and then replaced with younger teachers.
    With fewer students, the costs go down.
    Are there fixed costs, of course, but inflation has been very low, so, there hasn’t been a great increase in costs.

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