Dr. Dee Wells to Retire
According to a release from the School District of Marshfield, at a Special Meeting held on March 22, 2018, the Board of Education accepted the retirement request of Dr. Deidre “Dee” Wells by a vote of 5 – yes, 0 – no. Dr. Wells retirement is effective June 30, 2018.
In a statement to FOCUS, the five School Board members in attendance wrote:
“At our School Board meeting last night, March 22, we accepted the retirement of Dr. Deidre Wells effective June 30, 2018. 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. 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. We wish her well.
(Board members Dorothy Cheney and Mary Carney were not in attendance at the March 22 meeting)”
FOCUS reached out to Dr. Wells for an interview:
What has it meant for you to serve the school district as Superintendent?
Serving as a superintendent certainly has its challenges, but it also has many rewards. The School District of Marshfield is a great school district. Being in a position to strengthen the position of the District by improving outcomes for all students is the biggest reward of all. Our District accountability reports point to the dedication of the staff, the quality of the curriculum and the understanding of the necessity for evolving instructional methods and programs to serve today’s learners. Being a part of figuring that out, implementing it and measuring impact has been a privilege.
What aspects of your job have you really enjoyed?
Watching students grow in success, watching programs evolve, listening to and watching “aha” moments take place. I started as an educator in 1983. I have always enjoyed the evolution of educational philosophies, education law, the growth in educational research and the changes created by understanding and adapting to best practices, technology and so forth.
Looking back at your career here in Marshfield, what accomplishments are you most proud of?
That is a difficult question but here are the ones that come to mind most immediately.
When I arrived I was provided some clear direction. Included in that was to highlight our Career and Technical Education programs in light of data that indicated deficits would be coming in terms of available employees for most employment sectors. We had great CTE programs then and we have highly supported programs now. The evaluations done by businesses and other community members led to stronger advisory committees which led to more information getting out about our great programs and I think, more support. It was a pleasure working Jenni Fredrick and entire staff of the business, technology, health careers, agriculture, manufacturing, construction, automotive and consumer education programs.
When I arrived, I heard many voices discussing athletic facilities needs. Through formation of a committee that included community members and tours of other district facilities, a plan was developed and eventually board approved. There is an active community group working on that plan. I am happy to have had some impact on the movement of those plans.
The development and impact of technology in our world is ever present. The District took many steps to maximize the use of technologies in the District as well as implement programs that assist students in being real-world ready. It is a huge process, one I am proud to have been a part of.
The District has a great curriculum and instruction cycle in place now. What students need to know is constantly evolving. The cycle in place in the District allows every content area to have its moment in the sun, to explore new areas and new resources.
The District was approached by Wood County Campus regarding an International Program and the Board was very willing to allow us to venture into that arena. I was thrilled to get the green light to give that a go. Today we have multiple camps and academies at each level that parents and students alike have said have been life changing. That is all one needs to hear.
Our 4K program is evolving. I appreciate the opportunity to have been a part of that process.
We have increased supports for students in many areas. We have added staff in the form of building health assistants, school psychologists and school counselors. Additionally we have partnered with local agencies including the Marshfield Health Care Center to provide much needed professional development around the issues that impact our students and their educational success. I could not be more proud of our staff for embracing these activities.
A final note would be the alternative compensation plan for professional staff which was designed to recognize and support professional staff in the District. By all measures it has been a success.
With your retirement, what processes must start to make for a smooth transition before the 2018 – 2019 school year.
The Board will work to make the transition a smooth process as it has done in the past.
FOCUS also reached out to School Board and Mayoral candidates for their input.
“As a member of the Marshfield School Board, I see this as a tremendous opportunity to bring in a new superintendent that can bring our district together,” said School Board candidate and incumbent Mary Carney. “If re-elected, I will help select a new administrator that focuses on common sense, not the latest educational fad. A new administrator that listens to current staff and guides our district to a new level of trust, excellence and pride.”
Although this new development is somewhat of a surprise, it in no way influences any personal goals for what I hope to bring to my service as a school board member. It does, however, afford the Board an exciting opportunity to hire a replacement. Ideally the successful applicant will be someone whose values and goals align with those of the school board, including an interest in promoting open channels of communication with all who are involved in Marshfield’s public education system. My main focus continues to be the reinvigoration and maintenance of a thriving educational environment for this wonderful community.
Dr. Dee Wells has wisely recognized that it is time for change. My best wishes go to Dr. Wells in her future pursuits.
This exciting opportunity to select a new superintendent offers great potential to address the issues that I and others have recognized as critical to the future of Marshfield School District. If elected, I will seek out an individual to fill the position of superintendent who can connect with the community, who will create more opportunities to listen to all sectors of the school community, and, with that input, find collaborative solutions. My message to the citizens of Marshfield: let’s work together to keep Marshfield Schools great, through community, communication and collaboration.
“I do wish Dr. Dee Wells the very best in the next chapter of her life. I know her to be a hard worker, but did not realize how long it has been since she had a vacation! Her retirement would not alter my focus as a board member if re-elected. My focus is and will continue to be what is best for our students, and leadership that preserves the culture of excellence our staff and community have created. 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.”
Mayoral Candidate Bob McManus
Just received word of Dr. Dee Wells request for early retirement and the school board’s unanimous approval. This makes our upcoming school board election even more vital. The new members will be able to have a voice in the decision of the new superintendent. Who will hopefully advocate for common sense teaching approach and a greater and more collaborative communication between teachers, administration, parents and our students. I’m optimistic that the choice of the school board will foster communication and collaboration with the mayor and common council. Marshfield’s brighter days are ahead!
Mayoral Candidate Tom Witzel
I would like to thank Dr. Wells for her service to the district and the community and wish her all the best as she moves to the next phase of her life. I look forward to the opportunity to work with whomever is selected to replace her, as well as with the school board as we work toward better communication between the city and the school district.
FOCUS reached out to all candidates for Marshfield School Board for comment and will update this post as needed.
Don’t let a story go untold. Connect with our team to share news or let us know what you’d like to learn more about. Email [email protected].