New leadership in New London
Dr. Kathy Gwidt has been selected as the next district administrator for the School District of New London.
After meeting in closed session to discuss the employment and compensation considerations to be included in a contract offer, the Board of Education voted unanimously to select Gwidt.
Gwidt, who currently serves as the District’s Director of Teaching and Learning, will begin her contract for the District Administrator position on July 1, following the retirement of current District Administrator Bill Fitzpatrick in June.
Gwidt holds a Bachelor and Master of Science degree in Elementary Education from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point as well as several reading certifications. She attained administrative certifications from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree in Curriculum and Instruction Leadership from Marian University.
She has extensive experience in roles such as Director of Teaching and Learning (2008-present, New London), Principal/District Reading Specialist (2005-08, New London), Director of Instruction (2002-05, Westfield), Principal (2001-02, Westfield; 1999-2001, New London), Fourth/Fifth Grade Teacher (1992-99, New London), Fifth Grade Teacher (1996-1997, Apex, N.C.), and Third/Sixth Grade Teacher (1990-92, Clintonville).
Gwidt also was a co-owner of Gauthier’s True Value Hardware in New London from 1985-1996.
A statement released by the Board of Education stated that Gwidt has been instrumental in moving the district forward through her work with the Common Core Standards, Project Lead the Way, the Teacher-Leader Effectiveness Project, and the successful acquisition of charter school funding. Their expectation is that the district will continue to build on that strong foundation that has been built by Fitzpatrick.
“I am fortunate to have had Bill Fitzpatrick as my mentor,” stated Gwidt. “We have worked together to build a foundation that is truly grounded in the district’s mission: success for all students. Our goals are to maximize student achievement, build staff capacity, and pursue sustainable practices.
“There is certainly a benefit for me, having been here to work toward those goals with Bill,” stated Gwidt. “As we transition, I will be looking for ways to improve as we go forward while accomplishing the objectives that have been set.”
Gwidt said communication and consistency will be key to her tenure as District Administrator.
“We need to communicate the great things we do in our district,” she commented. “We also want to hear from the community. We need to know what they want from the schools. We feel we’re doing a lot, but we want to continue to improve while meeting the needs of the community.
“We have a very supportive community, and we owe it to them to listen to their suggestions and work together,” continued Gwidt. “This is sincerely a partnership with the whole community. When the schools do well, the community does well – and when the community does well, the schools do well. There’s benefit to all that are involved.”
While the district has a considerable amount of positive momentum, Gwidt has no illusions about the challenges the district is facing.
“Uncertainty with regards to funding is probably the biggest challenge we are facing, along with so many other districts,” she said. “The state’s revenue cap that was instituted in 1993-94 really hurt our district. We were spending less at that time than many other districts. Then, the revenue cap was introduced, and ever since then we’ve essentially been punished for being frugal. It is my hope that the state finds a way to reward that frugality rather than continue to penalize us by capping us at a low spending level.”
Gwidt went on to say that one of the district’s strong points is commitment to its mission.
“The best thing about the School District of New London is that we’re sincere in our pursuit of success for students,” stated Gwidt. “Our goal is to move each and every student forward, and we are committed to using whatever programs and systems are needed to help our students succeed.
“We are not swayed by ‘the next new thing’,” continued Gwidt. “Everything that we do is very intentional. We have to continue to be strong enough to maintain our focus on the district’s mission.”
Gwidt pointed to the Academy structure and Project Lead the Way as some of the district’s strongest, most productive programs.
“We need to keep these programs going so that students can get what they need. I’m very proud to say that by maintaining our focus, we’ve been able to strengthen the programs that allow students to succeed while in school and beyond, in college and career applications.”
An open door policy will be maintained going forward, as Gwidt is looking forward to communicate with community members. She plans to go beyond district facilities and meet community members wherever they are comfortable, seeking their input.
“I want to be available for everyone – certainly for parents and staff, but all citizens of the district as well,” concluded Gwidt. “I am sincerely honored to serve in this new capacity.”
The district will begin the hiring process this week for a new Director of Pupil Services to help fill the void that will be created when Ann Christopherson retires. Christopherson has served as Director of Pupil Services for the School District of New London over the past 10 years. The district will then work to hire a replacement for Gwidt as she moves from the Director of Teaching and Learning position into the District Administrator position.