March 8th Special Edition 

Student Walk Outs and Protests: Tips For Principals

by Malina Piontek, AWSA Retained Attorney

Following the tragic event in Parkland, Florida, on February 14, 2018, students have been at the forefront of national media stories, expressing their anger and frustration over continued school violence. Organizers are currently promoting at least three nationwide protests, with students across the country expected to participate. 

Read more. 

March 14th Edition 

Negotiating Your Administrator Contract 

By Malina Piontek, AWSA Retained Attorney

Congratulations! You have a principal contract for next year! The administrator contract statute requires that your contract be in writing, approved by a majority of the full membership of the school board, and filed with the clerk of the school board. The goal of both parties entering into a contract is to have clear, understandable terms to guide the contractual relationship.  Here are some thoughts for you to consider as you plan for your next contract.

Contract Extended by Operation of Statute. The administrator contract statute requires school boards to give principals notice in writing of either renewal of the contract or refusal to renew the contract at least 4 months prior to the expiration of the employment contract. For contracts that expire on June 30, 2018, this must have been done by February 28. 2018. If the school board did not give you any notice by February 28, 2018, your current contract continues in force for two (2) years, ending on June 30, 2020. 

If you fall within this category, it is critical that you accept your contract in writing to the board by March 31, 2018. Since March 31 falls on a Saturday, to be safe, it is best to provide written notice to the board by Friday, March 30.  Here is sample language for you to use to provide written acceptance of your contract.

Labor of Love: Serving Those Who Serve Others

By Joe Schroeder, PhD Associate Executive Director, AWSA

Every year, AWSA members publish books on educational leadership. We invite AWSA authors to submit articles on their books that we can include in the Update.

Metaphorically speaking, as a school or school system leader, you are a well. People come to you because they are thirsty. They thirst for knowledge, they thirst for wisdom, they thirst for resolution and justice. They come to you in order that their personal wells can be replenished, so that—one way or another—they can become a bit more strengthened and whole through the process. And that makes sense, because giving to others is what servant leaders do. But in an era of unprecedented pace and scope of change, where the demands on leaders can often seem overwhelming, we face a critical issue in education leadership today:  where does one who serves others replenish his/her personal leadership well…before the well goes dry? 

Addressing that critical issue and equipping leaders with means for managing it is the purpose of the book I published earlier this school year: Labor of Love: A Spiritual Companion for Servant Leaders

Read more.

State and Regional Effort Seeks To Build Capacity and Coherence for Wisconsin Educators

The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, CESA Statewide Network, Wisconsin Association of School District Administrators, and the Association of Wisconsin School Administrators are working collaboratively to provide coherent professional learning for Wisconsin’s educators. By working toward a shared set of goals, we are able to effectively build the capacity of classroom, school, and district leaders and ensure all students graduate college and career ready. 

Beginning this year, the partners will transition three stand-alone professional learning activities into a coherent, jointly planned conference series called The Wisconsin Leading for Learning Series.  This approach was designed in response to strong input from the field encouraging state and regional organizations to better coordinate events. Professional learning that uses common language, coordinates support, and helps to “connect the dots” on emerging initiatives, research, and practices allows for a better focus on what matters most – the students of Wisconsin.

Read more. 

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2018 Associate Principal of the Year National Finalist

AWSA is pleased to announce that Wisconsin’s 2018 Associate Principal of the Year, Justin Szews of Lakeland Union High School, is now one of three finalists for the national 2018 Assistant Principal of the Year Award. Justin has served as assistant principal of Lakeland Union High School for the past eight years. His efforts have included working with students, staff, parents and other community members to raise the level of achievement in the school, increase school attendance, implement educator effectiveness and improve the school's graduation rate. During his tenure, Lakeland Union has reduced its discipline referrals and truancy rates, as well as increased the graduation rate dramatically. 

As a finalist, Justin will be representing AWSA and Wisconsin at the 2018 National Principal Conference held this year in Chicago. The national winner will be announced during National Assistant Principals Week this April 9–13. 

School Leadership Loan Program 

The Wisconsin Legislature has created a forgivable loan program to support $12,500 of the tuition costs of attending a school leadership training program approved by the Higher Educational Aids Board. After completing the program, individuals who receive this special financial support will have 25% of the loan and the interest on the loan forgiven for each year successfully served as a Wisconsin school leader.   

The UW-Madison K12 Leadership Master's Cohort Program developed by the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis (ELPA) in collaboration with the Association of Wisconsin School Administrators (AWSA) and the Wisconsin Association of School District Administrators (WASDA) has been approved for this forgivable loan program.

Click here to find out more.

AWSA 2018 Election

The AWSA Board of Directors election will be held electronically from April 16-April 30, 2018. This year, Directors will be elected from Regions 1, 2, 3, 7, 8, 10, 11 and 12. Members of each of these regions will be emailed a notification on April 16, 2018 with a link to an online ballot listing the candidate(s) for that region. As part of its succession planning, the Board has recruited candidates in each region. 

  • Region 1 (co-director): Danielle Bosanec, Director of Curriculum & Instruction, Pewaukee
  • Region 2 (co-director): Paul Brost, Principal, Monona Grove
  • Region 3: Carmen Burkum, Principal, Fennimore
  • Region 7: Ty Breitlow, Principal, Chilton
  • Region 8: Lance Bagstad, Principal, Clintonville
  • Region 10: Susan Kern, Principal, Chippewa Falls
  • Region 11: Sara Eichten, Principal, Somerset
  • Region 12: Dave Scholz, Principal, Phillips

In addition, write-in candidates can stand for election by submitting a petition to the AWSA headquarters by March 16. If you have any questions, contact Robin Herring at [email protected] or (608) 241-0300.

2018 National Principals Conference 

School leaders share the same goals for student success from kindergarten through high school. And when you come together, something very powerful happens: collaboration, synergy, and inspiration soar. Join NASSP at the 2018 National Principals Conference for authentic peer-to-peer conversations, innovative learning opportunities, and world-class thought leaders. Expect programming that addresses your specific needs and challenges, and get excited that you are laying the groundwork to help students successfully transition from one school level to another. NPC18 will be held July 11–13, in Chicago. Details and registration information can be found at

NAESP Pre-K–8 Principals Conference

Make plans to attend the premier professional development conference for elementary and middle-level principals at @NAESP Pre-K-8 Principals Conference. During the course of three days, you will connect with your peers, learn best practices, and have access to today’s education movers and shakers. Apply the knowledge and skills you learn in your school and in your career. Read more at

March 28th Edition

Plan Now to Take Advantage of New State Aid and Grant Programs

On March 21, DPI released information on how districts can access millions of dollars of new aid programs in critical areas ranging from school-linked mental health services to educational technology. 

We encourage you to work with you district leadership team to plan on how best to utilize these new revenue sources as part of your planning for 2018-19 and beyond.

"Personal Notes" in the School Setting

by Robert W. Burns, Attorney, and Abby S. Busler, Attorney, Davis & Kuelthau, s.c

The Wisconsin Public Records law embodies the general proposition that all individuals are entitled to the greatest possible information regarding governmental affairs and official acts of government officials.  The Wisconsin Public Records Law creates a strong presumption in favor of complete public access to public records.  Public institutions, including public elementary schools, secondary schools, technical colleges and universities are subject to the Wisconsin Public Records Law.

Read more.

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Supporting Paraprofessionals to Support Students with Individualized Education Programs (IEP)s

by Daniel Parker, Assistant Director of Special Education, Division for Learning Support, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction

I’ve always felt that paraprofessionals, also referred to as paraeducators, para-pros, instructional or teaching assistants, or program aides, are a critical component to the provision of exceptional special education service and supports.  This belief was shaped from my first experience working in a public elementary school in Lawrence KS in 1996.  Graduating with degrees in psychology and philosophy, and not knowing what career paths I would find, I took a position in a school that had piloted a new system to support students with autism.  I had never heard the term “autism” and did not have much experience with children or adults with social, learning, cognitive, physical, or other differences.  

I was not even sure what a paraprofessional’s job really was as I didn’t remember them in my own public school experience.  Luckily, I hit the jackpot of jackpots for first educational experiences as I found myself working in a school that implemented an intensive, data-centered, evidence-based, and inclusive program for students with autism with the goal of improving academic and functional skills so that we could “work ourselves out of a job”.  Although we did not work ourselves out of a job, the experiences and outcomes I was a part of in my first year as a paraprofessional led to many students no longer requiring the level of support I was hired to provide and went on to shape my future and career.

Read more.


12 Wisconsin Public School Leaders Receive Kohl Leadership Awards

The purpose of the Herb Kohl Leadership Award is to recognize and support excellence in Wisconsin school administration. The Herb Kohl Educational Foundation's goal is to support Wisconsin principals in pursuit of their unrealized goals for their schools or professional development. The 12 public school Kohl Leadership Award recipients and the 12 schools of those principals will each receive $6,000 grants from the Herb Kohl Educational Foundation and will be recognized at a spring banquet.

2018 Public School Honorees:

Patricia Cifax. Menomonee Falls

Heather Connolly, Kenosha

Sally Schumacher, Milwaukee

Brain Stuckey, Delafield

Mary Jo Tye, Mequon

Marty Van Hulle, Pewaukee

Scott Walter, Menomonee Falls

Laura Eicher, New Glarus

Mike Kruse, Stoughton

Nicki Pope, Tomah

John Blosenski, Baraboo

Michael Rietveld, Combined Locks 

AWSA would like to thank the Herb Kohl Foundation for their continued commitment to promoting high quality educational opportunities for every Wisconsin student.

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