DELAVAN — The Delavan-Darien School Board Thursday, Aug. 2, unanimously approved the hiring of Robert Crist, Ed.D., as its interim superintendent for approximately one year.
Crist, of Burlington, replaces Wendy Overturf, Ed.D., who retired in May. Overturf had been superintendent of Delavan-Darien schools since 2007.
Crist brings a wealth of experience to the post, having last been superintendent for Wisconsin Rapids Public Schools, a position he held from May 2007 until his retirement in June 2010.
“I am delighted to have been offered this position and will do the very best I can, relying on my education and prior experiences,” Crist said. “I really look forward to working in the district and working with staff, students, parents, community members and the school board.”
Prior to his superintendency at Wisconsin Rapids, Crist held various administrative and teaching positions in both Wisconsin and Illinois.
He was the director of human resources at Wisconsin Rapids (2006-2007) before becoming superintendent there. Crist was principal at Lakes Community High School in Lake Villa, Ill. (2003-2006); the superintendent at Wilmot Union High School in Kenosha County (1999-2003); principal at McKinley Middle School in the Kenosha Unified School System (1992-1999); principal at Port Washington High School (1990-1992); directing principal of three sub-schools within Washington Park High School of the Racine Unified School System (1988-1990); principal at Elkhorn Area Middle School (1982-1988); principal/assistant principal at Iola-Scandinavia High School (1979-1982); assistant principal at Sauk Prairie High School (1978-1979); physical/health education teacher at Mary D. Bradford High School in Kenosha (1970-1978); and physical education teacher at Jerstad-Aggerholm Junior High School in Racine (1969-1970).
Crist also has coaching experience and played football for the semi-pro Racine Raiders team in the late 1960s and early 1970s and at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.
Crist earned his educational doctorate in Educational Administration from Nova Southeastern University in 1998. His master’s degree is in School Administration and Supervision from Roosevelt University (Chicago) in 1977. Crist earned his bachelor’s degree in Physical Education with a minor in Health Education from UW-La Crosse in 1969.
When he starts at Delavan-Darien Aug. 9, Crist says he expects to take the reins as if he were the permanent superintendent.
“I’m going to talk to people, to get to know the staff and the administrators, and community. That’s my style,” he said. “I can’t always just sit in an office and guess what’s going on or read reports… You have to go out and be visible and exchange ideas, and listen to suggestions, concerns and complaints. I look at this as being the district’s full-time, regular superintendent.”
Crist says he takes a student-first approach to the job of leading a school district.
“This is one business where everything that we do should be focused on the best interests of the students, their education and making the best use of fiscal resources that we can for that,” he said.
Crist is also excited about taking steps to implement the district’s new strategic plan, which he said contains “everything that I believe in.”
The plans “all revolve around the philosophy of focusing on student improvement and helping students do the best they can,” Crist said. “That has to be the main focus — everyone working together for that common goal.”