By Adam Hocking
MARSHFIELD — Responding to comments by Marshfield High School (MHS) Principal Steve Sukawaty about worsening stability in the Marshfield School District, Superintendent Dee Wells said that there is “general instability in education” across the state and nation.
In an interview with Hub City Times Friday morning, Sukawaty said that district stability had changed since he arrived in 2012 in terms of personnel turnover.
“At the time when I came, it was a remarkably stable district. It was incredible for its stability. No one left. No one left, and that was what brought me here,” Sukawaty said. He later added, “That has changed. Absolutely, that’s changed.”
Wells said she thought Marshfield School District was more stable than most.
“We have probably one of the more stable school districts, but, having said that, … you see a lot of individuals retiring each and every year. So if he’s referring to staff movement or those types of things, you know, I could see where he might be referring to that in general. But as far as our district being completely — I would say — different than any other district, I don’t know about that.”
“I don’t have any data to say that our district is different or unique from other districts. Staff are more mobile than they used to be. There’s no doubt about that,” Wells said. She later added, “We still have a lot of people that have been here, started here, and are retiring here.”
Wells said that she does not yet have a written resignation from Sukawaty but that he had verbally resigned. Until the district receives a written resignation and the board of education approves it, Wells said the process of finding a replacement would not begin.
Once that process begins, Wells said the job would be posted on WECAN, an “internet hiring environment for K-12 Wisconsin schools,” according to the service’s website.
She said interviews by staff, the board of education, administration, and a chance for parents and the public in general to meet candidates would go into the hiring process.
“Because it’s a high school principal position, … it will have a lot more opportunity for the candidate to be queried about a wide variety and range of skills and knowledge sets,” said Wells.
Wells did not offer a comment about Sukawaty’s performance as principal, saying that, “I haven’t been here long enough to offer any other types of individual reflections, nor would I whether it was this principal or any other.” Wells took over as superintendent in Marshfield in 2014.
“We have a stellar high school here, and our high school continues to be a stellar high school, and we’re going to continue to, you know, support those efforts to make it a stellar high school,” Wells said. “Marshfield’s always the one out in front, and people are always trying to catch us, so we want to make sure that we continue to innovate and improve and move forward.”