Music program hit by two resignations, but district staff largely intact
The mother of an Ozaukee High School student told Northern Ozaukee School District officials at the May board meeting she was very concerned when she learned of pending staff resignations for the coming school year.
Fredonia resident Rebecca Baumann told the School Board her sons have benefited from the strength of the district’s music program.
Baumann said she feared that emphasis would be hurt by the resignations of high-school choral director Drew Wojciehowski and band teacher Melissa Harms.
Wojciehowski came to the district right out of college and has been a teacher for four years. Harms has taught at the district for five years.
The pending staff departures added extra drama to the recent end-of-year concerts for both teachers.
Longtime social studies teacher and varsity basketball coach Isaiah Ketterhagen is also leaving after the school year. He has been with the district for 13 years.
But it was the turnover in the music program that most concerned Baumann.
“These teachers are leaving and they have impacted a lot of people in this community. Why can’t we keep our good teachers?” she asked.
“We have some very talented kids in this district. Mr. Wojciehowski has done a phenomenal job in working with these kids.”
She said she heard only rave reviews about the school’s production of “Peter Pan,” and worried the school musical might be dropped without Wojciehowski’s leadership.
School Board President Paul Krause said Baumann’s comments reflect how strong the bond is between teachers and students in the district.
“One benefit of a small district is that our students get to know their teachers well,” Krause said. “We do have some teachers leaving this year, but we have 76 teachers who aren’t leaving.”
Board member Tom Hoffmann, however, said he too is concerned about stability of the teaching staff.
“The district is seen as a stepping stone, and that concerns me,” Hoffmann said.
After the meeting, Krause reflected on the hit the music program is enduring with the teacher departures.
“In a post-Act 10 world, teachers are finding they have a new mobility in their careers,” Krause said.
“In the the non-education world, people move from job to job all the time. We do exit interviews every time someone leaves the district, and there doesn’t seem to be a pattern for why people are leaving. This is not a large-scale trend.”
Later in the meeting, the board accepted the resignations “with regrets.”
Board members were a little less willing to approve the retirement of Roger Sinnen, the district’s longtime buildings and grounds superintendent, contending he is too valued by the district.
Sinnen has been with the district for 35 years. He plans to retire Sept. 6.
“I want to thank you for all the money you saved the district over the years and all you’ve done for our schools,” board member Rick Hamm said.
“You have created a very positive image for everyone who visited our schools,” Krause added.