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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Lambie Named To Replace Dzurick As Marinette School Superintendent

Issue Date: March 18, 2020

The pending retirement of Wendy Dzurick as Superintendent and Administrator of the Marinette School District and naming of long-time High School Principal Corry Lambie and current Quality Assurance Director of Teaching and Learning, to replace her in that position were officially approved and announced at the School Board meeting on Tuesday, March 17, as was Dzurick's appointment for one year to fill the position Lambie will be leaving.

That news was somewhat overshadowed by concerns over school closings and other changes brought about in response to the coronavirus pandemic in Wisconsin and all around the world.

"The entire staff and administration have been working under unbelievable circumstances to do what is right for our kids," Dzurick declared. She told the board that at 3:40 that afternoon an order had come in from Gov. Tony Evers ordering all schools in Wisconsin to close at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, March 18 and remain closed until further notice. She said that order prohibits holding classes but does not prevent school staff from coming into the building, and after getting advice from District legal advisors, parents will be allowed to come in to collect the pre-K through 4K physical learning packets, and parents of other students can come in to collect their belongings and clean out lockers. Any staff meetings will be held in small groups only.

Like all other schools in Wisconsin, schools in the Marinette School District had been ordered to close at the end of the school day on March 18 and remain closed at least until Monday, April 6, with the understanding that re-opening would depend on the coronavirus situation. Much of the board discussion on Tuesday centered on just how the closings will work for students, staff, and others who provide services to the district.

As an action item for the meeting the board approved continuing full pay for staff during the shut-down, with three members abstaining because one or more members of their households work for the district, and all others voting in favor. There may be adjustments for food services, the contracted cleaning service and bus transportation providers and their employees, but board members and all Dzurick indicated they plan to protect them from financial injury, particularly Westlund Bus Lines, which drew high praise as providing excellent service to the district for many years, and always cooperating in any way possible.

The board approved canceling the early release day on Thursday, April 9 and the full day off on Friday, April 10 (Good Friday) due to the mandatory closing, but Board President John LaCourt said that may no longer be necessary, since school will most likely be closed anyway and Evers and the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction have reportedly decided that school districts will not need to comply with the mandatory days of instruction rule for this school year.

Dzurick advised the board that the school buildings will be "people free" for at least six days, from the end of the day on Thursday, March 19 through Friday, April 3, with only Chartwell's cooking staff, perhaps some contracted cleaning service employees, herself and Maintenance Supervisor Tom Tickler in the buildings.

Meanwhile, she said, teachers have been preparing at-home instructional materials for students, and students, even those in grades 3 and 4, are being allowed to take their Chromebooks home for distance education use. Teachers unaccustomed to distance education are trying to work some in.

Calls to district offices and personnel, including the administrative assistant, counselors, etc., will go through as usual, but are being automatically transferred to staff members at their homes, Dzurick said.

"We stress customer service, and there has been a lot of anxiety," Dzurick explained, and added, "While we are shut down we are really wide open... Unbelievable learning plans are being put together by teachers...Spectrum is providing free internet service wherever they can." She said they have not yet decided how education will continue for students whose homes do not have internet connections.

She asked board members, families, students and staff to monitor their e-mails and the school web site regularly for updated messages.

During the shut-down, students and/or their parents can pick up free lunches and breakfasts for the next morning at Park, Middle School and the High School from 11 a.m. to noon each weekday. At the elementary school meals will be brought to vehicles outside.

To a question from board member Mary Bodam about meals for students who live far from the school and have no way to pick up them up, Dzurick said it is possible the district can arrange an agreement with Westlund Bus Lines to deliver them. She said owner Tom Westlund has offered to work with the district in any way needed, and the district will work with all families that reach out for help.

Near the end of the meeting Dzurick presented video clips on her pending retirement and Lambie's move into the superintendent's post. The changes are taking place even as work continues on plans for "right sizing" the district, which is likely to include closing some of the elementary school buildings.

"Amid the chaos that is defining the current pandemic, the Marinette School District will stay on the right course with a leadership transition plan decided upon at its regular Board of Education meeting on March 17, 2020," Dzurick officially declared in a news release issued after the meeting.

At the meeting she had explained that she had intended to retire at the end of the current school year, and now is excited about the opportunity to continue being involved as a member of the transition team for one year, doing work that she greatly loves. She said she is excited to be a part of the leadership transition plan that will change her course and the course of Lambie, but not the course of the district.

In the news release, Dzurick explained that during personnel planning for the 2020-21 school year, she had informed the board of her intentions to retire soon, and added that she is excited to be offered this opportunity as it will provide staff with the consistency needed to carry on with the good work they are doing to improve the learning experience for students. "This is truly a win-win that assures a smooth transition for our district and one that I believe is the right move for the district," she said.

"We have good work underway and we all want to continue in that direction,"Dzurick went on. "We are doing the improvement work because it is good work, not because of me. With this transition plan, we are assured the District will continue to move forward."

Dzurick started her career in Marinette in 1985 as a first grade teacher. She remained in the district for 18 years, working as a teacher, library media specialist and assistant principal. After working in Menominee she returned to Marinette in 2003 to serve as middle school principal. She then worked in the Greendale and Franklin School districts before returning to Marinette in 2015 as Director of Teaching and Learning, and became Superintendent in 2016.

In the news release, Dzurick said she is particularly proud of setting up a continuous improvement framework for Marinette and identifying the vision, mission and values for the district based on input from all stakeholders. Another achievement was developing and helping implement a strategic plan for the district.

"It's really been rewarding work," Dzurick said, and added, "It's big work. It's important work because we are educating and developing the future workforce and citizens. But it's much easier when it's meaningful work serving the community where I grew up."

The Marinette School District is currently in a transitional phase of identifying how to right size the district, and Dzurick said she believes that makes this the perfect time to turn that work over to Lambie, who can make a long-term commitment to the process.

"Lambie has already demonstrated his commitment to the District," Dzurick said. "He has worked in the District for 25 years as a teacher and administrator. He is looking forward to taking over as superintendent."

She said Lambie has several goals for the district, and will continue to be involved with the right-sizing project, which is a priority for the district. "Lambie wants to see the district continue its collaborative culture focused on student success and well-being, and to develop an environment where continuous improvement is an expectation for students and staff," the news release stated.

Noting that the district has established a strong framework for continuous improvement, Lambie declared this an exciting time for the district and added, "Now it's up to us as a team to work together to continue our focus for all students to achieve at high levels in a safe and healthy environment."

"Corry Lambie has been a dedicated and loyal member of our district staff with 25 years of service. His commitment and experience make him the right person to step into the job of superintendent. We are confident that he has the skill set to ensure a smooth transition for all stakeholders as he takes the reins from Wendy," Board President LaCourt commented.

Lambie has spent almost his entire 25-year career as an educator working in the Marinette School District, serving for the past four years as the Quality Assurance Director. In that position he monitored a collaborative curriculum review and implementation process, which includes analyzing data and studying best practices, allowing voice in decision making, including input from content experts, and providing ongoing professional development and lesson study experiences for teachers. He also supported and assisted in implementing coaching training for staff from various buildings and positions to better serve the district's learning community, Dzurick stated in the news release.

Before being named to the Quality Assurance position lambie served as Marinette High School principal. During his tenure in that position the school's graduation rate increased from 86.5% to 93%.

In 2016 he received the Administrator of the Year award from the Wisconsin School Counselor Association. Also during his time at Marinette High School, the school was named a regional Spirit of Excellence winner for four consecutive years, recognized for leadership, sportsmanship, and service to the school and community.

Lambie had previously served as principal of Garfield Elementary School in Marinette and Assistant Principal of Marinette High School. He began his education career as a teacher at Menekaunee Elementary School in 1995 and also taught at Marinette Middle School.

Lambie received a bachelor's of science degree in elementary education from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, and a master's of science degree in administrative leadership and supervision in education from UW-Milwaukee and now holds a superintendent certificate from UW-Milwaukee.

The news release goes on to state that, having been involved in co-curriculars in some capacity or his entire life, Lambie understands the importance of quality coaching and the power of teamwork, and adds, "This philosophy has prompted him to organize a team of educators to attend an Equity by Design conference to develop inclusive and thriving schools. He will collaborate and participate with a team of Marinette administrators who will be attending the Essentials of the Art of Coaching conference and encouraged the entire administrative team to attend the leading for Learning Summit in June. He has also attended multiple related workshops and training courses including Lean Leadership/Six Sigma, Effectiveness Coaching, ALICE (Alert, Lock-down, Inform, Counter, Evacuate) and Trauma Invested Practices.

Tuesday night's board meeting began with a 5:30 p.m. closed executive session to "consider employment, compensation and personnel," and to "consider personal histories of a student or students which if discussed in public, would be likely to have a substantial adverse effect upon the reputation of any person referred to in such histories."

The regular open portion of the board meeting began at 6 p.m. in a room set up to provide at least six feet of distance between participants. Board member Charles Rowell participated by telephone and all other board members were present. The planed "Spotlight on Learning" presentation by Sunrise students was eliminated, as was the report by Student Council Representative Maya Carriveau.

Retirement of Tina Pivatto as Administrative Assistant for Student Services was accepted effective July 31. Resignations of Andy Walters as varsity football assistant coach and Mike Maedke as 8th grade football coach were accepted.

Hiring of Jenni Campbell as head Middle School track coach and Steve Campbell as assistant Middle School track coach were approved, as were hiring of Taylor Pedersen as assistant high school track coach and Shawn McMahon as JV2 assistant baseball coach.

Donations of $125 from Absolute Nutrition, $125 from Drees Electric, $250 from Stephenson National Bank and Trust and $375 from Waupaca Foundry, Inc. were accepted for the high school Future Business Leaders of America scholarships and $100 from the Ruffed Grouse Society of America for the MHS Trap Club were accepted with expressions of gratitude from LaCourt.

Several trips were approved for classes and extra-curricular groups but they may or may not actually take place due to the coronavirus shut down.

An agreement for the Head Start program to lease space at Merryman Elementary school for the 2020-2021 school for a lease amount that was not disclosed during the meeting but described as covering costs was approved without dissent. The Head Start program is using the space this year on a trial basis at no cost. The program also continues to have classes at Peshtigo, Dzurick said. She said the amount they are to pay is the amount suggested by Head Start administrators. Their program uses one classroom in the early learning area at Merryman and one office there. Board Member Mary Bodam asked if having Head Start there helps increase 4K enrollment, and Dzurick said that is more affected by "wrap-around' childcare availability, and they are working with others who provide that service before and after school hours.

The board approved purchase of 25 Dell Optiplex 3070 desktop computers at the low quote price of $13,100 from CDW-G, and authorized starting work on this summer's high school improvement projects for a total price of $535,142. The work is to include renovations in the high school commons area, main office, and art rooms. Money for the project is to come from the $1 million previously borrowed for the energy project, so it entails no additional borrowing or spending from the regular district budget.

Dzurick told the board the community questionnaires regarding right sizing the district are coming in at slightly above the expected rate, and they already have enough responses for a statistically valid tabulation. Deadline to return the questionnaires is Monday, April 6.


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