DELAVAN — When the start of the 2013-14 school year arrives in early September, two new principals will be leading two of the three Delavan-Darien School District elementary schools.
Shawn Madden, the former Somerset High School principal, and Nancy Resch, the former Wittenberg Elementary/Middle School principal, will take the reins at Delavan-Darien’s Wileman Elementary and Darien Elementary, respectively.
Wileman Elementary Principal Deborah Maki and Darien Elementary Principal Kathy Maher both retired at the end of this school year. Together, they had a combined 49 years as teachers or administrators in the district, and more than 66 years combined as education professionals.
“At both schools, we have people coming in with a significant amount of leadership experience and who have had positive experiences with their staff, students and parents,” Delavan-Darien Superintendent Robert Crist said. “With the initiatives we have before us, and the things we need to do next year and beyond, their experience should help us tremendously as we replace two veteran principals at both schools.”
Madden was principal at Somerset for five-plus years. Prior to that, he was the elementary/middle school principal and associate high school principal for the School District of Elmwood for five years.
His seven years of teaching experience is mostly in special education. He taught special education at the middle and high school levels for La Crosse public schools and at the high school level in Winter, Wis.
Madden has a master’s in education from the University of Wisconsin-Stout, is currently studying for his superintendent licensure at Winona State University in Minnesota, and plans to pursue an educational doctorate at Edgewood College in Madison upon his arrival in Delavan. His bachelor’s degree in vocational rehabilitation is also from UW-Stout.
“I’ve been at the high school level about 11 years and I really want to get back to working with elementary students,” he said. “Their formative years are extremely important and I want to help foster that.
“I’m excited about the opportunity to be in Southeastern Wisconsin. I’m a huge sports fan, too, so I’ve got equal access to all the Milwaukee, Madison and Chicago sports teams I love to watch in person and on TV.”
When he gets to work at Wileman, Madden said he’s planning to focus on areas identified as needing improvement by the Wisconsin school accountability report cards, particularly students’ reading and math achievement levels.
“I want to develop, enhance and improve those areas identified on the state report card for the school,” he said. “I’m excited to work with the Wileman staff on this and the many other district initiatives. I’ve heard outstanding things about the Wileman staff and the Delavan-Darien School District.”
Madden said he sees his role as being a “leader of educational leaders” in the classroom. He likes to be visible, accessible and approachable for students, staff and parents.
“Even as a principal, I’m not removed from the classroom,” he said. “I am always in them. I’m not one to stay in my office, and I work with students, staff and parents on a regular basis. I am looking forward to working as a team member to make a positive difference at Wileman Elementary School.”
Resch is excited to join the Delavan-Darien School District as many of the district initiatives align with her belief system, such as ensuring all students graduate college and career ready, and implementing more technology into the classroom.
“I see many opportunities for me to collaborate with a staff that is working hard every day to do what’s best for children, families and the community,” she said. “This is an opportunity to bring my ‘tool belt’ of experiences, knowledge and leadership and combine them with the strong educational foundation that already exists in Delavan-Darien Schools.”
Resch also has years of administrative experience in elementary and middle school settings.
She was first an associate principal at Merrill Junior High for two years before becoming a principal at Three Lakes Elementary School for five years. Resch was then principal for Dyer Intermediate School in Burlington for two years, and principal for three years at two small elementary schools at one time in the Menasha Joint School District before returning to a leadership position at the Wittenberg-Birnamwood School District in 2009.
As a classroom educator Resch had two stints teaching for the Wittenberg-Birnamwood School District as a middle school science teacher for four years, and as a special education aide for six years.
Between those roles, Resch taught third through eighth grade math for the Tigerton School District for two years.
She has a master’s degree in education from UW-Superior and bachelor’s and associate’s degrees in education from UW-Stevens Point.
Resch feels her experience will be an asset in continuing moving the district forward and ensuring all students receive a quality education.
“I believe the many initiatives the district is already undertaking fit nicely into my belief system and compliment my professional goals,” she said. “I look forward to collaborating with the staff as they continue moving forward to implement the state-required initiatives and work to prepare all students to be college and career ready. I am also very excited about the one-to-one technology plan the district is beginning this fall.”
About the hiring process
Hiring the two newest school leaders was a cooperative effort among administration, teachers and support staff in the schools, Crist said. Delavan-Darien administrators, including Crist, Director of Instruction Cora Rund and Director of Pupil Services/Special Education Sara Halberg, interviewed 24 applicants for the two positions and narrowed the field down to seven candidates.
Crist, Rund and Halberg, along with two teachers from each school and two administrative assistants to the principals from each school, made up the search committees for the seven finalists.
What stood out with Madden and Resch was their extensive administrative experience and knowledge about such issues as curriculum development, students with exceptional educational needs, Response to Intervention (RtI) and Positive Behaviors Interventions and Supports (PBIS), Crist said. Having such experience and knowledge in the principal roles is vital to the district successfully implementing such programs and initiatives.
Both are expected to start at their new jobs in July.
The Delavan-Darien School District is still in the search process for two deans of students for Delavan-Darien High School, and a bilingual coordinator for the district.
Interviews for the bilingual coordinator are ongoing now, and Crist expects to start interviews for the two dean positions later this month.
The bilingual coordinator will oversee the bilingual and English Language Learner program and staff in the district and develop a dual-language immersion program as called for in the district’s strategic plan.
The two dean positions will handle all student attendance and conduct issues at DDHS. Duties will change next year for the school’s two associate principal positions. Associate Principal Kevin Parker will primarily handle the implementation and training for new teacher evaluations, while Associate Principal/Athletics Director Craig Lodahl will see his position split between being an athletics director, conducting teacher evaluations and being a part-time science classroom teacher.
Crist expects no further changes to the remaining Delavan-Darien School District administrative staff.