Getting Started

Getting Started
Posted on 07/17/2014

Moving to a new school district encompases a wide array of emotions and experiences. Starting over in a new community involves many personal and professional changes. While it is natural to reflect on the fond memories and accomplishments of the past, it is enjoyable focusing on the new opportunities and challenges of the future.

During my first few weeks in Menomonie I have been excited, nervous, and, in some cases, overwhelmed. The District Administrator position has so many responsibilities and extremely high expectations. Thousands of students, parents, staff members, and community stakeholders are counting on the school district to provide our children with a rigorous and well-rounded education. While all public school districts have some similarities, every school district is unique with its own culture, characteristics, challenges, and opportunities. With so much to learn and so much to do, where does one start?

In my case, I was fortunate to have a little history with the Menomonie Area School District and this geographic area. Getting to know some stakeholders through the hiring process and following the school district through the local media in recent years provided a starting point. I was also very fortunate that the retiring administrator, Christine Stratton, was willing to communicate with me over the past few months as I began to prepare for my transition into the school district. Since the beginning of May I have been monitoring school board meetings, communicating with district leaders, and spending time learning about district policies and procedures.

Like many organizations, relationships are critical to the success of a school district. Educating our children is a responsibility too big and too complex to fall on any one individual. Collaboration, cooperation, and communication is essential in maintaining a school system that excels in preparing students for their futures. My calendar has been packed with meetings, both in and out of the school district. I have already had several opportunities to talk with many teachers, administrators, support staff, and school board members. Business and community leaders, parents, and community members have been very welcoming and more than willing to fit meeting with me into their busy schedules. I have attended meetings with the Menomonie Rotary Club and the Greater Menomonie Development Corporation, and I have met with representatives from the Boys and Girls Club, local law enforcement officials, UW-Stout, and my superintendent colleagues from the other school districts in Dunn County.

Overall, I have been very impressed with the local school district and community. Everyone with whom I have spoken has demonstrated a desire to provide the children in Menomonie with a high quality educational experience that will prepare them for their futures. The value that Menomonie stakeholders place on education and the desire to work collaboratively to accomplish this goal is quite encouraging.

My family and I have completed our move from Cadott to Menomonie, and we have already enjoyed attending Freedom Fest and taking advantage of many of the wonderful attributes that Menomonie has to offer, such as the water park, the bike trail, and the local businesses and restaurants. We have been blessed by the kindness of many new neighbors, and we look forward to making Menomonie our home. I hope that this column will serve as a way to keep school district stakeholders informed regarding our school district, but I also invite you to visit the Administrative Service Center on Pine Avenue or contact me at 715-232-1642 if you have any questions or concerns about our schools. I will also maintain a blog on the school district website ( and I regularly post school-related information on Twitter (