By Kris Leonhardt
MARSHFIELD – The Marshfield School District will be looking for a new superintendent for the 2018-19 school year, as Superintendent Dee Wells will retire.
During a special meeting held March 22, the Marshfield Board of Education voted to accept Wells’ retirement, effective June 30.
“You get to a point in your life, where there are other things, other challenges, other ideas that come to your mind,” said Dr. Wells. “It is time to move on from the full-time superintendent aspect of my life. I was happy to have served the district and thrilled to be able to support the board in whatever way they want me to here as they transition.”
Dr. Wells’ tenure in the Marshfield School District culminates a 35-year career in education, which began with a speech language pathologist position in 1983.
Wells came to the Marshfield School District in 2014, where she says her work in the Career and Technical Education program was one of the most significant aspects of her time here.
“I believe there was a direction that I was provided to bring more support to those programs – let the community know much more in-depth about what we offer here in Marshfield, and I think with Jenni Fredrick and the gang over (at the high school), I would say working with that crew has been one of the many highlights in the district; they are just an awesome crew over there at the high school and at the middle school… ,” Wells said, “and, I really do think that there is much more support, and I think that there is a greater knowledge of what our programs are in the community.”
Wells added that the exchange program with China was another high point of her time in Marshfield.
“Being able to expose our families and our students to real people from other countries… When I went to China for the first time, I have a picture in my mind and that picture in my mind was developed from pictures that I had seen or things on the news – those types of things – but, when you are actually in a different place and you are interacting with those populations, there is one thing stood out more than anything – people are people are people are people, and behind all of that there’s a human,” she said.
“When our students interact with other students, they have a chance to really learn about each other, but then, also, to realize that there are more similarities – there are more similarities between two fourth grade girls who live in different countries than there are differences – and that really helps us extend and promote a higher level of (understanding) – that is one of the proudest moments, that I can say, about the history here.”
In 5-0 vote, the Marshfield school board passed the acceptance of Dr. Wells’ retirement, which will prompt a search for her replacement for the 2018-19 school year.
“We as board members would like to thank Dr. Wells for her many initiatives she has made to improve the Marshfield School District and student learning over the past several years,” school board members, Frances Bohon, Amber Kiggens-Leifheit, Mark Konrardy, Marlene Stueland, and Dale Yakaites said in a statement following the March 22 meeting, in which member, Dorothy Cheney and Mary Carney were absent.
“We thank her for her work with the new international student program, the athletic facilities, the referendum, personalized learning, as well as many improvements to curriculum.”
Frances Bohon said that little would change in focus as a board member upon Dr. Wells’ departure and that she plans for a smooth transition.
“I do wish Dr. Dee Wells the very best in the next chapter of her life,” said Bohon, in a separate statement. “I know her to be a hard worker, but did not realize how long it has been since she had a vacation… We can improve our collaborative processes and foster respectful listening and input to make this a smooth and positive transition for the Marshfield School District.”