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Familiar face picked for TJ administrator job PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by bill Schanen IV   
Wednesday, 05 April 2017 21:09

Former phy-ed teacher chosen by board to replace veteran assistant principal at Port middle school

The Port Washington-Saukville School Board on Monday chose a familiar face —former Thomas Jefferson Middle School phy-ed teacher Jodi Swagel — to become the school’s assistant principal beginning July 1.Swagel, currently the principal of Cedar Grove-Belgium Middle School, will replace Liz Ferger, who is retiring on June 30 after serving as the school’s second-in-command for 21 years.The board voted unanimously to hire Swagel, who was among 56 applicants and two finalists for the job.“It does feel like a homecoming for me,” Swagel said in an interview Tuesday. “My previous experience in the district was amazing. It’s a great school district and a great community. I’m humbled to be able to return to TJ as a leader.”Swagel was a phy-ed and health teacher at Thomas Jefferson Middle School from 2004 to 2010. She is completing her third year as principal of Cedar Grove-Belgium Middle SchoolSwagel has master’s degrees in administration, curriculum and instruction, as well as exercise science, and a bachelor’s degree in physical education.She said the move from principal to assistant principal was not a factor in her decision to leave Cedar Grove-Belgium Middle School and return to the considerably larger Thomas Jefferson Middle School.“I see both as leadership positions that give me the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of students,” she said.While admitting being a middle school educator can be challenging, Swagel said it’s her calling.“There are a lot of things going on with adolescents, and it really takes a special breed of educator to work in a middle school setting,” she said. “But it’s a place where educators can really make a difference.“For me, middle school is my sweet spot.”Swagel is the second new middle school administrator hired in as many years. Steve Sukawaty was picked last year to replace longtime principal Arlan Galarowicz, who retired.Swagel will be paid $89,000 next year, plus an additional $3,000 to oversee summer school, Supt. Michael Weber said. Also on Monday, the School Board recognized Ferger for her 21 years in the district and a career in education that spanned 31 years.“Thank you for the great service you provided to our kids,” Weber said. “You always tried to find something positive.”Looking back on her career, Ferger said, she is struck by the changes she has witnessed at Thomas Jefferson Middle School, which now has an enrollment of about 740 students.“The amount of change in 21 years has been just been incredible,” she said. “At one time we had 980 students at the school. It was a very big school with all sorts of stuff going on.” 
Image information: PORT WASHINGTON-SAUKVILLE School Board President Carey Gremminger (right) presented retiring Thomas Jefferson Middle School Assistant Principal Liz Ferger with a plaque Monday recognizing her 31-year career in education. Ferger is retiring June 30 after 21 years at the middle school.        Photo by Bill Schanen IV