Written by MICHAEL LoCICERO
Wednesday, 30 April 2014 16:39
After 10 years at Thomas Jefferson Middle School, Swagel says she is anxious to succeed Courneene
After 10 years at Thomas Jefferson Middle School in Port Washington, physical education and health teacher Jodi Swagel decided it was time for a change.
Swagel was hired to become the next principal at Cedar Grove-Belgium Middle School at last week’s board meeting.
“I am definitely honored to be the next principal at Cedar Grove-Belgium Middle School,” Swagel said. “I felt like it was a great fit and I’m glad they felt the same way.”
That’s not to say it won’t be difficult for her to move on from some of the relationships she has built in Port.
“It’s been an emotional roller coaster for me a little bit,” Swagel said. “It’s incredibly difficult to leave because the people in Port are like family to me, but I feel like I will always have those relationships with them.
“Everyone has been tremendous and supportive.”
School Board President Chad Hoopman said the district received 88 applications for the position and interviewed nine people.
Swagel is completing an educational leadership program at Cardinal Stritch University. She also has spent time working in the Waukesha School District and taught for six years at the University of Mississippi before coming to Port.
“Jodi has an outstanding work ethic, and is a dependable and collaborative person,” current Middle School Principal and future Supt. Jeanne Courneene said.
Courneene said Swagel has experience with Response to Intervention and Positive Behavioral Intervention and
Supports, two critical initiatives in the district.
Hoopman said based on discussions with teachers and other administrators who also met with Swagel, the decision to hire her was “unanimous.”
“We are very excited for Jodi and for the district,” Hoopman said. “She strikes us a great communicator and has all the characteristics to be a great leader for our middle school.”
Swagel said her top priority is getting acclimated with the staff and administration at the school when she begins on July 1.
“I am all about establishing relationships and I realize that takes time to develop,” she said. “I have to make myself visible and available with the staff, students and the community.”
Swagel is the second of three new principals the district will hire or appoint this year.
Josh Ketterhagen was given a full-time appointment as high school principal, effective July 1, earlier this year.
The district still must replace Elementary School Principal Craig Gunderson, who announced last month he was leaving to become the principal at Kennedy Elementary in Grafton.
Swagel acknowledged the amount of turnover and is excited to “understand the culture and direction of the district.”
“There have been a lot of changes with the administrative team lately, but I feel the transitions are going smoothly,” Swagel said. “I feel I will have great support and the board and district have worked well together and I’m confident they will continue to do so.”