Teacher departures add up to busy hiring season

PW-S board OKs more resignations, retirements as educators opt to stay home with kids, move for spouse’s job
Ozaukee Press staff

The Port Washington-Saukville School Board on Monday accepted the resignations of five more teachers and the retirement of a longtime counselor, adding to what has already been a busy hiring season.

The retirement of Thomas Jefferson Middle School counselor Jerry Pittz, whose 37-year career as a teacher and counselor includes 29 years in the Port Washington-Saukville School District, brings the number of retirements at the end of the school year to nine.

In March, the board approved the retirements of eight educators who together have more than a century of experience in the district. 

They are:

• Patti Gutglass, who has taught math at Port Washington High School for 26 years.

• Dave Kitzerow, a high school guidance counselor who has taught or been a counselor at all the district’s schools except Saukville Elementary School over the last 23 years.

• Karla Klein, a high school special education teacher who has spent 25 of her 32 years of teaching in the district.

• Dave Ross, a high school special education teacher who has spent most of his 30-year career at the high school.

• Lois Hartwig, a paraprofessional at Dunwiddie Elementary School who has worked in the district for more than 20 years.

• Jeanne Maciejewski, secretary to the principal and office manager at Thomas Jefferson Middle School.

• Sue Paisley, a paraprofessional at Lincoln Elementary School who has worked in the district for 22 years.

• Connie Cross, a paraprofessional at Lincoln Elementary School.

On Monday, the board accepted the resignations of middle school teachers Angela Blashka and Jesi Conradt, Lincoln Elementary School teacher Cynthia Brown and Dunwiddie Elementary School teachers Morgan Steldt and Ruth Wichmann to bring the number of teacher resignations effective at the end of the school year to seven.

Brown, who is leaving to move to Ann Arbor, Mich., because her husband has been accepted into the University of Michigan’s MBA program, and Steldt, who is resigning to stay home with her children, are indicative of teachers who are making often difficult decisions to leave their jobs for reasons related to their families, Supt. Michael Weber said.

“We’re going to continue to see movement here and across the state, not because people want to leave but because of other circumstances,” he said. “Child care, for instance, is expensive, and while we would like to keep our teachers, we certainly understand the decisions they have to make about whether to have their children in child care or to stay at home with them.”

Of the seven teachers who have submitted resignations, three will be staying home with their children and two are moving out of the area because of their spouses’ careers, Weber said.

“The good news is that no one is leaving because they are dissatisfied with their jobs or the district,” he said.

The mobility of teachers puts a premium on the hiring processes of school districts, as well as their reputations, educational philosophies and compensation packages, Weber said.

“We have been able to fill our vacancies with very qualified teachers,” he said. 

“We’re hiring more teachers who have experience as opposed to those fresh out of college.”

That’s not by design, Weber said, but it may be a reflection of a national decline in young people entering the teaching profession.

“There are very qualified people out there,” he said. “School districts will just have to work harder to find these people. We’ve been very successful in doing that.” 


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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.

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