Two Port Washington-Saukville School District teachers have submitted resignations effective next week — unusual moves made well after the start of the school year that will force the district to rely on longterm substitutes until replacements can be hired.
Scott Oftedahl, band director at Thomas Jefferson Middle School since 2009, is leaving to become the technology and assessment coordinator for the Germantown School District, according to an Oct. 2 resignation letter.
The school’s former longtime band director, Loey O’Keefe, will serve as the long-term substitute, Principal Arlan Galarowicz said.
Angela Haendel, a speech and language specialist at Dunwiddie Elementary School, is resigning for personal reasons, according to a letter she sent Supt. Michael Weber on Oct. 4.
Both resignations are effective Friday, Oct. 25.
In another unusual move, the School Board met in closed session Monday to review the performance of both teachers before voting in open session to accept their resignations.
The district will fine the teachers $1,000 each for resigning after the start of the school year as allowed under their contracts. Typically, staff resignations are approved by Weber and confirmed at a later date by the School Board.
“It’s very unusual for this district to have to deal with resignations at this point in the year,” Weber said. “Because of that, I didn’t feel comfortable accepting them.”
Board President Jim Eden requested the closed session so the board could examine the performance reviews of the teachers before accepting the resignations, Weber said.
“We needed to look at this closely because these resignations will create challenges for us,” Weber said.
At the middle school, Galarowicz said, it was fortunate that O’Keefe, who retired as the school band director in 2009, was available to fill in.
Shortly after O’Keefe’s retirement, Oftedahl left his position as principal of Kennedy Elementary School in Grafton to become the band director at Thomas Jefferson Middle School. A band teacher before he went into administration, Oftedahl said at the time he wanted to return to the classroom and pursue his love of music.
In his resignation letter submitted this month, he apologized for “the timing of this announcement,” but said the Germantown position opened up only shortly before school began.
To fill Haendel’s position, another reading specialist will assume some of her duties and a long-term substitute will fill in until a replacement can be hired, Weber said.
“Speech therapy is a hard position to fill, but we already have two candidates in mind,” he said.
“We’re sorry to see both these teachers go, but we’ll be fine.”