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Longtime Oconomowoc superintendent, Neudecker, announces retirement

Dec. 17, 2012

Oconomowoc Area School District - Longtime Superintendent Pat Neudecker plans to retire at the end of the school year.

Neudecker has been with the district for 13 years, serving the last nine years as superintendent.

She came to the district as principal of Oconomowoc Middle School in January 1999 and was made director of curriculum in 2000.

She holds a master's degree in administration and a doctorate in educational leadership and policy analysis from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Neudecker send an email to board members Dec. 12 in which she noted that she planned to tell her staff the following day. Her resignation is expected to be accepted at the School Board meeting tonight.

"It's difficult to find words to explain how you'll miss Pat. She has been such a steadying force for the district and is so connected with the community and has so much respect from the community. It's hard to let go," said School Board President Don Wiemer.

Neudecker has steered the district through challenging times that included failing facilities and dire financial straits. She is credited with shepherding the district out of a perilous financial condition that she inherited when a $2.7 million deficit was discovered in 2004.

Under her leadership, the district reorganized its business services department, made budget cuts, placed a freeze on expenditures and hired Mike Barry to be assistant superintendent of business services.

Neudecker saw positive results from efforts she led to build new schools and construct additions to Oconomowoc High School.

It was on her watch that the community passed a $49.6 million building referendum after several previous failed attempts by her predecessor. Two new intermediate schools, a new performing arts center and a field house addition at the high school were greenlighted by voters in 2006. In addition, Neudecker has led the district to become the fastest-growing school district in the county, and among the fastest-growing districts in the state.

Since 2003-04, enrollment has surged by about 1,000 students.

Other accomplishments for the superintendent include a three-year, $1.4 million plan for technology improvements, which broke the project into three phases. Phase 1 included upgraded electrical service and routers. The second phase installed wireless receiver technology and network switches in each school, and lastly a fiber-optic network connected the schools.

"I understand Pat's motivation. She has parents and children and grandchildren, and she wants to spend time with them," Board member Mike Bickler said of her retirement.

"She's been working very, very hard for a long time in Oconomowoc, and it's time for family. Part of me is very selfish and sad to see her go, and another part is happy for her. I'm very conflicted," Bickler added.

Wiemer said the board will have to meet to decide how to proceed in looking for her replacement.

"What is so great is that I believe the School District will attract top people looking for a superintendent job. We have newer facilities, growing enrollment and great staff. Pat's got the foundation, the walls built and the roof on. Now we have to move it forward," Wiemer said.

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Weekend Happenings

Featured this week:  

Rotary Pancake Day: 7:30 a.m. Feb. 28, Waukesha County Expo Center, 1000 Northview Road, Waukesha. Fundraiser for the Waukesha Rotary Club is 7:30 a.m.-1 p.m. in the Expo Center Arena. Advance tickets at Waukesha State Bank, downtown location., $5-$7. $5 advance, $7 at the door; free for children 5 and younger. www.waukesharotary.org.

Ninth Annual Oconomowoc Rotary Wine & Brew Fest: 5 p.m. Feb. 28, Olympia Resort, 1350 Royale Mile Rd, Oconomowoc. Wine, food and beer. Features foods from the best of our local restaurants. Purchase tickets at $50 from an O-Town Rotarian, through Facebook, or in person at most area First Bank Financial Centre locations, Books & Company & Lorleberg True Value Hardware. See more at www.oconomowocrotary.org. $50.

Chili Tasting: 11 a.m. Feb. 28, The Garden Mart, W297 S9115 Highway 83, Mukwonago. Chili tasting from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Local vendors will be selling unique merchandise. Judging is open to the public and all proceeds from voting will be donated to the Mukwonago Food Pantry. Event is free. Call (262) 363-5252 for information.

Dr. Seuss Birthday Bash Literacy Event: 10 a.m. Feb. 28, Hartland North Elementary, 232 Church Street, Hartland. Families with children in 4-year old kindergarten through second grade are invited to a special event. The Cat in the Hat and the Lorax will celebrate with a big birthday cake for all of our guests along with lots of literacy activities based around Dr. Seuss books.

Updates to this calendar are made weekly Monday afternoon. 

 

All weekend happenings.