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Muskego shifts with new school administrative look

Aug. 27, 2012

Muskego - The Muskego-Norway schools has some dramatic staff changes heading into the new years: a new district superintendent, and new principals at four of its seven buildings.

The departure of Superintendent Joe Schroeder, who became associate executive director of the Association of Wisconsin School Administrators, not only resulted in a replacement, but touched off a series of promotions from within the district that resulted in so many new faces in principals' offices.

Kelly Thompson, who had been assistant superintendent, moved into the top spot in June. Thompson joined the district in 1993, serving in a number of other roles, including coordinator of pupil services, high school associate principal and director of instruction.

Superintendent's new approach

When Thompson came to the district, one of the first jobs she was given was to build collaborative support teams into the system.

In fact, getting people from different perspectives to work together to achieve the common goal of helping every child is what she finds most rewarding in the educational field, she said.

When she started as a school psychologist, she brought students, staff, parents and even the community to work together to help students, Thompson said. Teambuilding since then has just been on a bigger scale, she added.

Another force that drives her is finding ways to help kids learn when the usual methods don't seem to work, Thompson said.

"I think, how can I support students who struggle or aren't accommodated, whether they are accelerated or need a different program," she said.

The schools need diverse ways to reach students rather than universal ways, she said.

Key administrative staff

Her team includes new principals at the head of many of the schools.

One of those openings was tied to the promotion of Dennis Bussen, who has served as Muskego High School principal since 2001, to assistant superintendent, filling Thompson's role.

The new MHS principal is Ryan Oertel, who prior until 2006 had served as the school's associate principal. More recently, he was principal of Lake Denoon Middle School.

Taking over the reins at Lake Denoon Middle School will be Linda O'Bryan, who has been principal for several years at Mill Valley Elementary School.

At Mill Valley Elementary School, Robin Schrot will be the new principal. Schrot comes from the Elmbrook School District where she had been a student support teacher for three years. Before that, she was an elementary teacher for 12 years.

At Tess Corners Elementary, 20-year veteran teacher Kris Kuenstler, who has been in the district for seven years, will be principal. Kuenstler succeeds Kelly Kluck, who left to take a position in another school district.

- Jane Ford-Stewart

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