A Baraboo elementary school will lose its principal at the end of this school year.
Amy Fassbender, principal at Gordon L. Willson Elementary School for the past four years, announced her resignation this week to accept a position as Lodi Primary School principal. For the last year, she also has served as assistant director of teaching and learning for the Baraboo School District.
“This is truly one of the hardest decisions that I have made,” Fassbender wrote in a letter sent to GLW families Thursday morning.
Her decision stemmed from a recent “family health issue” that caused her to want a shorter commute to better support her family, according to the letter. She lives north of Madison and currently drives an hour and a half each day for work.
Fassbender, who received a Principal Leadership Award from the Herb Kohl Educational Foundation last year, expressed gratitude to District Administrator Lori Mueller, the school board, other district staff, students and families.
“Over these past years, I have had support and encouragement in everything that I have done,” she said in the letter. “I have loved being able to be a part of this district, truly trying to support the learning for students and staff. I have been blessed and these experiences will never be forgotten.”
School staff felt supported and grew under her leadership, kindergarten teacher Elizabeth Gulden said in an email to the News Republic. Both Gulden and Fassbender pooled their $6,000 Kohl Fellowship awards this year toward a project to create an outdoor learning space at GLW.
“Her wonderful and contagious smile made all feel welcome at our school, especially as she greeted the children and families every morning,” Gulden said.
“It has been an emotional time for our staff as we process this news virtually with one another, while at the same time navigating the difficult feelings of not seeing our students every day,” she said. “However, in her time with us, Mrs. Fassbender has empowered the teachers and staff to not only rely on one another, but also to trust in ourselves as we move forward. We are wishing Mrs. Fassbender the absolute best in her future position, and we are forging ahead positively as the process of finding a new G.L.W. Elementary School leader begins.”
The school board accepted Fassbender’s resignation during a meeting Monday, along with the resignation of Baraboo High School math teacher Jordan Pethan. Board members also approved posting job positions for an elementary principal, high school math teacher, 2020-21 elementary teaching positions and any other vacancies that open up for the 2020-21 school year.
Board President Kevin Vodak thanked Fassbender for her time in Baraboo. “You will be missed,” he said.
The Lodi School Board on Monday approved the hiring of Fassbender as primary school principal, according to Maureen Palmer, the board’s administrative assistant.
Follow Susan Endres on Twitter @EndresSusan or call her at 745-3506.
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