DELAVAN — Chris Fountain is no stranger to dealing with challenging situations.
He has spent 27 years at Norris Junior and Senior High School, an alternative public school setting for at-risk students. The last six years he has been the school’s principal and director of instruction.
He has also been a volunteer firefighter and chief of a department for more than a decade.
So, Fountain has seen it a lot his career. He knows that developing positive relationships is the best way to make a child successful and have a great school environment. He’ll take on those challenges at Phoenix Middle School as the school’s new associate principal starting this summer.
“The students at Norris are usually enrolled about four to six months, so to say that it is challenging is an understatement,” Fountain said. “If you don’t establish some kind of relationships with them, you would be done before you even had a chance to begin.”
Fountain puts an emphasis on developing relationships with not only students, but also their families and the staff.
“I have seen first-hand how forming relationships with all parties involved in education can greatly impact students,” Fountain said. “Without a doubt, having a never-ending positive attitude and having the ability to form these relationships has allowed for my success as an administrator.”
Fountain will finish out his administrative duties at Norris School this school session and begin at Phoenix on July 1, pending approval from the Delavan-Darien Board of Education. He will replace Jim Karedes, who was hired as the new Delavan-Darien High School principal earlier this spring.
“Chris has a solid teaching, coaching and administrative background that will serve us well in the role of associate principal at Phoenix Middle School,” said Delavan-Darien Superintendent Robert Crist, Ed.D. “He has a passion for education and has worked well with Norris students and families. I am very excited that he will join our staff this summer and work closely with our Delavan-Darien students and families.”
Fountain started at Norris in 1989 as a biology teacher, a position he held until 2010 when he became principal. He was also very active in coaching (cross country, volleyball, wrestling, basketball, weightlifting, and track and field) and was the school’s athletics director from 1994 until present. Among his many professional teaching certifications, Fountain is also certified in high and low ropes courses, which could come in handy on Delavan-Darien’s 40-foot Challenge Course at DDHS.
Fountain earned his undergraduate degree in Biology from UW-Whitewater in 1988. He also was a member of the Warhawk’s football team. He earned a master’s degree in 2001 in Educational Leadership from Cardinal Stritch University.
“I am excited about becoming part of a district whose philosophy revolves around student improvement and helping the students do the best they can,” Fountain said. “I enjoy working with middle school students and believe we have an excellent opportunity to equip our students with the experiences and skills necessary to become successful high school students and well-adjusted citizens in the Delavan-Darien community and beyond.”
Fountain said he was attracted to the opening at Phoenix for several reasons. One, it is a school with a more urban population in a rural setting, which is similar to his experience at Norris. Two, the staff collaboration at Phoenix is known to be outstanding.
“I looked into the district and heard about the staff having a family-orientated feel to it,” Fountain said. “When job searching, I was almost looking for another family of staff to work with. I had heard they have that in Delavan-Darien and I am looking at this as being a place where I can finish out my career.”
Fountain served on the Palmyra Volunteer Fire Department for 10 years and was that department’s chief when he left in 2012. He served for two years on the Town of Hewitt Volunteer Fire Department with the rank of captain.
His wife, Danyel, has been a teacher for 20 years. She teaches second grade at West Elementary in Jefferson. They live in Sullivan, Wis., and have five sons, three of which are in the U.S. military. They also care for a three-legged dog they rescued from a shelter.
When he is not working, Fountain enjoys spending time with his family, playing and watching sports, hunting, fishing and just about any outdoor activity.