Familiar faces already

Port-Saukville School District’s three new administrators don’t start work until July 1 but with five days under their belts by then they’ll hardly be strangers

STANDING IN FRONT of what will soon be their new home at the Port Washington-Saukville School District’s central office Monday were the district’s new Director of Instruction Tammy Thompson Kapp (left) and Director of Special Education Brian Sutton. They were joined by Chris Surfus (middle), the district’s current director of instruction, who will retire on June 30. Sutton is replacing Duane Woelfel, who is also retiring. Photo by Bill Schanen IV
Ozaukee Press staff

The Port Washington-Saukville School District’s three new administrators don’t begin work until July 1, but they’re already becoming familiar faces in the district.

Director of Instruction Tammy Thompson Kapp, Director of Special Education Brian Sutton and Port Washington High School Principal Rachel Biertzer are in the process of spending five days in the district before officially taking over for their longtime predecessors.

“I have never had this kind of transition into a district,” Thompson Kapp said during Monday’s Port Washington-Saukville School Board meeting, at which the three administrators were introduced. “It’s been very valuable.”

Thompson Kapp, who is the director of teaching and learning in the Baraboo School District, will succeed Chris Surfus.

Sutton, director of student services in the Marinette School District, will take over for Duane Woelfel.

Surfus, who has been an administrator in the district for more than 19 years, and Woelfel, who has worked in the district for more than 31 years, will both retire on June 30.

In introducing Thompson Kapp Monday, Surfus said, “Philosophically, we agree on what’s good for kids. I’ve told her things are in place, take them to the next level. And she’s ready to do that.”

Biertzer, who has been an associate principal at Sheboygan North High School for five years, will fill a vacancy at the high school left by the resignation of Principal Thad Gabrielse in January.

Port High Assistant Principal Nate Hinze, who met Biertzer before she applied for the job in the district, told the board, “We’ve got a good one here.”

Thompson Kapp, who was an elementary school teacher and principal before assuming her current position, told the board, “I’m super excited to be coming to this team.”

In February, she said the interview process gave her a “good feeling” about the Port Washington-Saukville School District.

“Just from my interactions with people during the interview process, I felt a sense of genuineness and that they were invested in the community,” she said. “It’s important for me to go where I feel I belong, and I’m thrilled to be coming the Port Washington-Saukville School District.”

Thompson Kapp, who has two adult children and four grandchildren, grew up in the Milwaukee area and has sisters, both teachers, who live in Grafton and Mequon. She said she and her husband are currently renting a home in Mequon.

“We’re really excited about relocating,” she said.

Sutton said his first introduction to Port Washington came by chance three years ago when he and his wife were driving from Madison to Green Bay.

“We stopped in Port Washington for lunch and both of us said, ‘Wow, this is a really nice place,’” he said.

Sutton and his wife, who works as a registered nurse in Green Bay, have a 9-year-old son. They are desperately searching for a house in the area, he said.

“We don’t have a house yet, and that’s the big stressor right now,” Sutton said.

Biertzer, who lives with her husband in the Town of Sheboygan, was an English teacher at Oshkosh North High School before becoming an administrator at Sheboygan North High School.

“The idea of being a principal in a one high school district is very appealing to me,” Biertzer, who has only worked in districts with two high schools, said during an interview.

When Biertzer was hired last month, School Board member Sara McCutcheon, who was among those to interview candidates for the position, called her “quite something.”

“She’s impressive. She’s energetic. And I can’t wait for her to start,” McCutcheon said.

The new administrators come to the district at a time of unprecedented turnover in the administrative ranks, which School Board President Brenda Fritsch acknowledged can be challenging.

“Change is always difficult, but I do know from those who sat in on the interview process that the feedback (about the new administrators) was so positive,” she said. “I feel like we’re going to be in very good hands.”


Click Here to Send a Letter to the Editor

Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

125 E. Main St.
Port Washington, WI 53074
(262) 284-3494


User login