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The Columbus School District has hired a new high school principal.

Superintendent Annette Deuman announced at the June 10 Columbus School Board meeting at City Hall, the district has chosen Tom Fischer to lead Columbus High School. Fischer replaces Jake Ekern who resigned in March.

Starting in late April, the district held two rounds of candidate interviews and chose Fischer last week.

“Tom is coming to us with experience from several different school districts,” Deuman said. “He has been an administrator at several levels, including a principal at the elementary and high school level.”

Fischer earned his Bachelor of Arts degree at UW-Stevens Point and his Master’s in Administrative Leadership at UW-Milwaukee. He recently served in the McFarland School District as principal at the Wisconsin Virtual Academy and was previously a principal for the Schullsburg and Kewaskum School Districts.

In a June 11 press release, Deuman said “the district is certain Tom will build upon the strengths, traditions and passions of CHS and our community as we transition into this new phase of leadership. The district also thanks the Principal Search Committee and Administrative Team for their time, dedication and commitment to the search process.

“We are very much looking forward to having him join our team. Please join the district in welcoming Tom Fischer to Columbus High School.”

To help select a new principal, the district formed a search committee that sat in on the interview process. Deuman said the committee was composed of administrators, staff members, parents and students.

“I think we have a really fine candidate who is going to help the high school and the district move forward,” Deuman said.

Fischer will begin his term as CHS principal July 1.

After Ekern resigned, Deuman appointed Columbus Middle School Principal Loren Glasbrenner as interim principal at the high school and elevated assistant principal Cori Denk to fill in as CMS interim principal. Deuman thanked Glasbrenner and Denk for filling those roles while the district searched for a permanent replacement.

“They filled those interim positions and helped lead those buildings,” Deuman said. “I appreciate all your hard work.”

Zander retires

Pam Zander, a familiar face at the school district office for 38 years, has retired.

Zander’s name was among the list of resignations and retirements approved June 10 by the board. Zander was the superintendent’s assistant and according to Board Member Julia Hoffman, served under five district administrators during her almost four-decade career in Columbus. Hoffman said Zander helped keep the district functioning for about two months when former superintendent Ken Bates was recovering from illness.

“I was grateful for Pam’s talents then and now and will be forever,” Hoffman said. “I thank her for her work in this district and give her best wishes for whatever she does.”

Board President Cindy Damm said Zander not only assisted the superintendent, but also handled many administrative duties for the board.

“She is the person behind the scenes and is kind of the go-between for board members,” Damm said. “It’s a year-round position and it’s a lot of evening work. We greatly appreciate all her work over the years.”

Deuman said Zander has been her right-hand person through the past four years.

“I can’t say enough to thank Pam for everything she’s done,” Deuman said.

The board also approved the resignation of certified staff members Kristine Westphal, math teacher at CHS, CHS School Counselor Tammy Leis, Anna Justmann, special education teacher at CMS, and Leann Vande Hei, language arts teacher at CMS. In addition, the board accepted the resignation of non-certified staff, including CMS cross country coach Scott Duffy, varsity baseball coach Bob Jansen and Leis, who served as a prom advisor at the high school.

Also on Monday, the board accepted several new hires, including Jamie Reynen, math/science teacher at CMS, Trevor Leathers, CHS math teacher, Mitchell Luebke, CHS math teacher, Elliott Wolf, CHS science teacher, Hannah Flor, art teacher at Columbus Elementary School, Shelby Lingst, a district-wide speech language pathologist, school counselor Grace Kropp, and approved the transfer of Renee Empey from special education teacher to 4K teacher.

Follow Kevin Damask on Twitter @kdamask or contact him at 608-963-7323.

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