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Baraboo middle school principal retiring at the end of school year

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A second Baraboo School District administrator will be leaving their post at the end of this school year.

Jack Young Middle School Principal Dave Schwarz informed the school board last month of his plan to retire, roughly a week after Lori Mueller, superintendent, announced her resignation.

“I want to go on record that I am extremely humbled and grateful to the District Administration and the School Board for supporting me as the leader of Jack Young Middle School for the past several years,” Schwarz wrote in a letter to Mueller and the board. “I am especially grateful for the support I have received from Dr. Mueller as she has been a great positive influence in my transition from classroom educator to school leader.”

He has worked in the school district for 22 years, originally hired as a middle school math teacher in 1999, according to Mueller. He spent 14 years teaching before becoming associate principal in 2013 and reaching his current position in 2018.

As principal, Schwarz worked on the recent $41.7 million referendum and continues to oversee the resulting construction along with other district leaders, including Kevin Vodak, school board president. During a Dec. 14 meeting, Vodak commended Schwarz for his ability to adapt as the school became an active construction site in 2020.

“Every building principal has had to adapt to changes with the switch from virtual to in-person and back to virtual, but Dave has had to deal with a little bit more than that with the construction going on in the building and making sure that everybody was safe where they were and the comings and the goings, so I just wanted to say thank you,” Vodak said.

Two more district staff members submitted resignation letters in December, which the school board is slated to approve at its meeting Monday. School nurse Laura O’Leary will leave the district at the end of next week, while bilingual teacher Alex Paulson will leave after June, according to their letters, neither of which gave a reason.

Since July, at least nine employees, including O’Leary, Paulson, Mueller and Schwarz, have submitted their resignation or retirement so far this year. In 2018-19, 48 certified staff members, a category that includes teachers and administrators, left the district.

Two administrators, the teaching and learning director and an elementary principal, resigned last summer. Another elementary principal retired in 2019.

In his letter, Schwarz said he felt “it is the right time for me to start down this new path in life with the staff and students at Jack Young Middle School positioned to continue moving forward.”

“As I transition to the next chapter of my life I wish to thank all the past and present staff of the Baraboo School District that I have had the privilege of working with over the past 22 years. Each of you has left an indelible mark on my life and I wish you all the best,” he said.

Schwarz did not respond to questions sent in December from the News Republic.

Fave 5: Reporter Susan Endres shares her top stories of 2020

We reporters at Capital Newspapers have been asked to share our five favorite, most memorable or otherwise noteworthy stories from 2020, a year I think many of us would prefer to forget. As tempting as it was to choose only stories from the before (COVID) times, I compiled a list spanning the year that ranges from education in Baraboo and Portage to the local impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. This year has been nothing if not historic.

And yes, of course I chose more than five. I wouldn't be Susan Endres if I was decisive. 

We've seen dramatic changes to our daily lives, but through it all, we continue to report on the important happenings in our community and hold the powerful to account.

Here's hoping for a better 2021.

Follow Susan Endres on Twitter @EndresSusan or call her at 745-3506.


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Baraboo News Republic reporter

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