Waupaca may end teacher’s contract
By Robert Cloud
The Waupaca School Board failed to approve a preliminary notice of nonrenewal for two teachers at its March 13 meeting.
Initially, nonrenewal notices for Joseph Janssen, a high school history teacher, and Chelsey Goebel, a part-time German teacher, were on the consent agenda. That means the nonrenewals were on a list of agenda items to be approved with a single vote and without discussion.
At the beginning of the meeting, board member Sandy Robinson asked to remove the nonrenewals from the consent agenda and into the regular agenda.
During public input, several community members spoke on Janssen’s behalf.
John Laedtke, a Waupaca High School graduate who is studying to be an English teacher at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, described Janssen as “one of the people who has made the largest impact on my life.”
“As a freshman I came to this school and I had no direction in my life,” Laedtke said. “Mr. Janssen took me under his wing and let me take his world history class.”
Laedtke said Janssen’s classes opened his mind to the world.
He became a Rotary exchange student, has worked with students in Hungary, Spain and Turkey, and was hired to teach at the third largest school in Africa.
“I owe that to Mr. Janssen,” Laedtke said.
Later, board member Dmitri Martin made a motion to strike Janssen from the list of nonrenewal notices.
“He’s a year away from retirement,” Martin said. “He has been with the district for 20 years.”
“I’m providing caution to this board that specific debate or discussion with regard to the actual preliminary notice of nonrenewal has to be extremely limited,” said board president Stephen Johnson.
Johnson said discussion of personnel matters should be during closed session.
“That’s in fairness to the rights of everyone involved,” Johnson said.
A motion was made to release the preliminary notice of nonrenewal, but there was no second to the motion so it died without a vote.
The board may discuss the notices in closed session, then vote on them at a future meeting.
Teachers who receive a preliminary notice of nonrenewal have five days to request a private conference with the board.
If a teacher’s contract for the 2018-19 academic year is not renewed, then the district must issue its final notice before the May 15 deadline.
In other business, the school board approved hiring Michael Werbowsky as the new principal of Waupaca High School.
Werbowski has 26 years of experience in education, including being a principal in Mount Horeb, Kaukauna and Rhinelander.