School District Administrator Search Underway; Results of Interviews/Surveys of School Constituents and Community Posted (Updated 3/21 at 10 p.m.)

The District’s tentative timeline for selection of a new Administrator:

HYA Job PostingJanuary 25-March 13 (HYA = Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates)

Online Survey: February 10-24

Leadership Profile Report presented to Board: Monday, March 2

HYA Screening Interviews: Until Friday, March 20

Slate presented to Board: Monday, March 23 (NOTE: The Board does have a closed session on 3/23 for this purpose.)

Board initial interviews: April 6, 7, 9

Board meets to identify finalists: After the last interview

Finalist Interviews: April 13-?

Board meets to identify preferred candidate: Within a few days of the finalists’ interviews

Target for public announcement: May 1

District Administrator assumes responsibilities: July 1, 2020

District Characteristics:

  • Approximately 2000 students
  • 43% economically disadvantaged students
  • 14% ELL (English Language Learner) students
  • 17% students with disabilities
  • 37% students of color, predominately Hispanic/Latino
  • 82% of High School students are engaged in music, arts, and/or athletic programs.
  • In 1960 Whitewater put into effect the first unified school district in WI, separating all school business and budget matters from the city council control.

Interview & Online Survey Participants

The consultants (HYA) spoke with 25 individuals and analyzed 517 online survey responses. Participants in the online survey: 181 students, 158 parents, 140 employees, 38 community members.

(Added on 3/21 at 10 p.m.) It may be of interest to note that the percentage ratings on some portions of the survey reflected much ratings on the part of community members and employees than those of parents and high school students. (It must be noted that there were only 38 community members participating in Whitewater.) The consultants indicated that it is not unusual to have a decline in ratings when a respondent is closer to the “consumer” experience in the district. The Banner was only able to find one other HYA survey in the state, but the difference in rankings between constituencies was much greater in Whitewater than in Green Bay. Shown below is the response to the question: “Please rate the overall quality of education in the District.”

AllCommunity MemberEmployeeParentStudent
Whitewater56%74%82%47%39%
Green Bay51%47%53% *52%46%
  • Green Bay’s survey had three categories of employees: Administrator (95 responses) = 68%, Certified/Licensed Staff (666 responses) = 53%, and Support Staff (219 responses) = 47%. Whitewater’s employees were all in one pool.

Strengths of the District (as identified by the interviews and surveys)

  • Every group noted that Whitewater is a small, safe, friendly community in which to live and that the community shows tremendous support for the school district.
  • Tremendous support for WUSD referendums.
  • Quality staff: caring and dedicated.
  • Growing diversity in the student population.
  • Area Quality of Life: friendly community, environmental opportunities, University presence, proximity to Madison, Milwaukee, and Chicago. “All groups highlighted the Whitewater area as a great place to live, work and recreate.”
  • Stable dedicated school board
  • District facilities are well maintained.

Top 5 District Strengths

  • Technology is integrated into the classroom.
  • Facilities are well maintained.
  • District schools are safe.
  • The district employs effective teachers, administrators, and support staff in its schools.
  • District technology infrastructure is sufficient to support 21st century learning.

Challenges, Concerns, Issues Facing the District

  • The district needs to create a central communication port where parents (especially) can look for information.
  • Increasing mental health needs of students
  • Increase in special education needs
  • Changing demographic needs including poverty and homelessness
  • Local housing shortage
  • Enrollment challenges, particularly the net loss with open enrollment students

Desired Characteristics of New District Administrator

  • Relationship builder
  • Strong communicator
  • Celebrates diversity
  • Trustworthy and open minded
  • Fosters community engagement
  • Visible and accessible
  • Sets high expectations

Top Five Desired Strengths for New Administrator

  • Foster a positive, professional climate of mutual trust and respect among faculty, staff, and administrators
  • Be visible throughout the District and actively engaged in community life
  • Recruit, employ, and retain effective personnel throughout the District and its schools
  • Understand and be sensitive to the needs of a diverse student population
  • Establish a culture of high expectations for all students and personnel

(Added on 3/21 at 10 p.m.) The complete survey report may be found here.

The leadership profile may be found here.

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