Began job July 1
By Chris Martinson
The School District of New London’s newly hired superintendent, Scott Bleck, has spent over two decades working one city away in the Weyauwega-Fremont School District, including as district administrator since 2010.
Bleck, who succeeds Dennis Krueger, began the job Monday, July 1.
He recently sat down with former school board member Chris Martinson for a conversation on his background, visions and philosophies.
Tell us about your family.
I have been married 22 years to my wife, Nancy, and have two daughters. One daughter is a high school sophomore and the other is a senior. My parents are semi-retired dairy farmers and live in the town of Lebanon where they own and operate the farm with my uncle and aunt. Nancy’s parents are originally from Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. All my family members have been very supportive of my work in the education field.
How did you choose a career in education?
I had a very good education in New London schools with some great teachers and mentors that made learning interesting. I feel like my experience in school opened up lots of opportunities for me to choose a career. As I approached my last year in high school, I began to think that teaching and education might be what I wanted to do. After that I went on to study at UW-River Falls, and the answer soon became clear. ”
Where do you see programs like technical education and vocational agriculture fitting into our district?
Not all students are inspired to attend traditional four-year colleges. There needs to be multiple paths to success for students, depending on their gifts and passions. Post-secondary education takes on many forms as young adults explore career and workforce opportunities to maximize productivity within our community. Even though some districts have cut down on career and technical education, I believe we need to keep ours in place, and based upon community and school board support, evaluate areas that we might strengthen these. We also need to expose elementary and middle school students to these options early so that by the time they are in high school they can make informed choices along with their parents.
How do you see the role of the local school board?
The board needs to be the face and image of the school district. They are the ones empowered by the community to set the budgets and directions (through policies) of the district, and should be in tune with the community in making these choices.
How do you see your role as district administrator?
I see my role as being a transformational leader and to lead by example. Transparency is crucial. The position requires that I lead, but within guidelines set by the board and by statutes, and to implement the decisions of the school board. As district administrator, understanding the facts and rationale during the decision-making process will foster a clear and concise direction for our school community to be part of. One critical factor of a public servant is open and frequent communication with the school community. It is the intent to build upon current effective practices and find further pathways to connect with our supporting townships and city. In turn, through our board of education, accountability will foster the success for all students within the district.
Who has been a particular inspiration to you in life?
My parents set examples of good values and have always been supportive. My grandfather, Ken Bleck, was a well-respected person in our community and a person known for his integrity and leadership. I looked up to him. As far as historical figures go, I have always admired Teddy Roosevelt as a great president and human being. His actions to set up the national park system have left great treasures that we enjoy today and future generations will have.
Please tell us any other thoughts as you step into this responsibility.
I am honored to be in public education and that I have been entrusted with the responsibility to influence the most valuable resource that any community can have: its children and youth. I have not taken my responsibilities lightly in the past, nor do I take the faith that the New London School Board has placed in me for granted. Stepping into this job of district administrator in New London, I feel especially honored to be able to contribute to the community that did so much for me. I believe I am here for a reason. I believe in helping to create opportunities and choices for our greatest resource the children of our school community.