Weyauwega superintendent heads to New London
Scott Bleck hired to head his hometown’s schools
By Scott Bellile and Angie Landsverk
The School District of New London did not have to look far for its next superintendent.
Scott Bleck, a New London native and the current superintendent for the Weyauwega-Fremont School District 13 miles away, will manage the New London schools’ operations beginning July 1.
The New London School Board on Monday, June 3, voted 6-0 to hire Bleck at a starting salary of $144,000. Board member John Heideman was absent.
The Weyauwega-Fremont School Board met that same evening and recognized Bleck’s resignation after meeting in closed session.
Bleck succeeds Dennis Krueger, who after two years with New London is headed to the School District of West De Pere.
Thirty people applied for New London’s opening. The other two finalists were Annette Deuman, superintendent for the Columbus School District, and Michael Juech, superintendent for Bristol School District No. 1.
New London School Board President Terry Wegner said Bleck brings to the role a passion for education as well as “a real interest” in New London, pointing to his service on the ThedaCare Medical Center-New London Board of Directors.
“He understands our community from having grown up here as well as being in close proximity over the years,” Wegner said. “I think his level of experience having been at multiple positions in a (school) system and then having led that system for the last eight or nine years makes him a good candidate for us.”
That prior superintendent experience was key to the school board’s ultimate pick for the job, Wegner said.
“When you’re approximately the 90th largest district in the state, it’s not a place you want to have someone on-the-job training. So having that experience is pretty important to someone coming in to a district of our size,” Wegner said.
In taking the position in New London, Bleck will head a school district two and a half times the size of where he currently works. New London’s 2018-19 enrollment is 2,284 students, compared to W-F’s 857 students, according to Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction data.
Bleck said his experiences as a classroom teacher, building-level administrator and district administrator will help him as he begins his new position in New London.
He said he will carry on his open door policy and continue to work with and understand all who are part of the community.
“I feel that is something I can bring forward,” he said.
Bleck, 47, grew up on a farm in the town of Lebanon.
His parents, Jerry and Kathy Bleck, continue to farm with his uncle and aunt.
Bleck attended New London Senior High School where he played for the Bulldogs’ football team and earned All-State Center and Defensive Lineman honors.
Bleck graduated from high school in 1990 and attended the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, graduating in 1996 with a bachelor’s degree in physical education and minors in health and coaching.
He continued playing football in college. During his senior year, Bleck tried out for long snapper on the Green Bay Packers but did not make the team.
After graduating from UW-River Falls, Bleck taught at a Catholic high school in Marshfield and then at St. Joseph Middle School in Appleton.
In 1998, Bleck was hired as the physical education and health teacher at W-F High School. He also coached football and track.
Bleck taught for three years before becoming the dean of students and athletic director in 2001.
He switched to the middle school and high school dean of students in 2002, then was promoted to middle school principal in 2003.
During this time, Bleck completed the administrative leadership program at Marian University in Fond du Lac.
In 2005, Bleck became the middle school and high school principal.
Bleck returned to school again a few years later, earning his certificate of district administration from Cardinal Stritch University in Milwaukee in 2009.
By the fall of 2010, he was working as W-F’s district administrator, a role he has remained in since.
New London presents opportunity
“I wasn’t necessarily looking to go to another school district at the current time,” Bleck said. “The opportunity presented itself in New London.”
It sparked his interest because it is where he began his own education.
“My experiences in education early on were always very positive and rewarding,” Bleck said.
Those experiences gave him direction and a path to a career in education, he said.
He is thankful for those who guided and shaped him.
Bleck sees education not only as a career, but as an opportunity to create tomorrow’s leaders.
He feels fortunate to have been given the opportunity in 1998 to be an educator in the W-F district and then empowered through the years to take on various leadership roles.
“The community of Weyauwega-Fremont is a tremendous district that values education,” Bleck said.
He is proud of how the district has continued to evolve through the years to meet the needs of its students and families.
Bleck’s tenure as district administrator in W-F includes the passing of a $21 million referendum.
Voters in 2016 approved adding on science classrooms, a performing arts center and multipurpose gym and fitness area to the high school.
Bleck sees himself as one person in that process.
He is proud of the community support for that project.
“What I am most proud of is the success of our children,” Bleck said.
Seeing the success students have attained through the years was rewarding to him as a teacher and an administrator.
Bleck is thankful for his 21 years of service in the district and is proud of what was accomplished together.
He said the district is fortunate to have quality educators and support staff and is proud of past and present school board members.
“The district is well positioned for the future,” Bleck said.
When New London’s superintendent position opened up two years ago, Bleck thought about applying for it.
However, the W-F district was in the developmental stage of its building project, he said. He was not willing to sacrifice the work of the community to change the district’s landscape.
“This time, I was at a different time and place,” Bleck said.
He liked the idea of giving back as an educational leader in the community where his education began.
Bleck is now the third W-F schools employee hired by New London for the 2019-20 school year.