News: Neillsville - New Elementary Principal (Schiller – 2017)
Contact: Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon
Surnames: Schiller, Luchterhand, Gaier, Anderson, Rueth
----Source: Clark County Press (Neillsville, Clark Co., WI) 9/06/2017
Neillsville New Elementary Principal (Schiller - 24 August 2017)
Neillsville New Elementary Principal
Scott Schiller began his duties Aug. 24, as the new principal of Neillsville Elementary School. (Todd Schmidt/Clark County Press)
By Todd Schmidt
Scott Schiller, 35, has been in a whirlwind of activity since Aug. 24, his first official day as the new principal of Neillsville Elementary School.
Schiller rose to the top of a pool of 50 applicants for the position. His first interview took place Aug. 10; soon after a second interview the following week, Schiller was offered the job.
Schiller participated in his first meeting with the Neillsville Elementary School Math Committee last week. Teacher Kat Luchterhand said Schiller was very well received.
“He is a phenomenal leader and is a great motivator,” she said. “He had everybody smiling and laughing.”
“We are very pleased to have Mr. Schiller joining our administrative team,” district administrator John Gaier said. “There were a number of excellent candidates for the principal position.”
“Mr. Schiller believes in the vision of providing young minds the best educational experience where they feel safe, and excited about learning. He is a strong and engaging communicator and wants to involve everyone in the community in developing a strong school and community relationship.”
Mr. Schiller is passionate about leading a school in which all students have the opportunity to earn a well-rounded, 21st century education.”
Schiller made time last Friday morning to talk about the transition from being a teacher to becoming a principal in his first administrative role. He taught sixth grade at Greenwood Elementary School from 2008-2014, and at Loyal Elementary School from 2014-2016.
“This is an incredible opportunity,” Schiller beamed. “I really wasn’t expecting it. I was in the process of getting my classroom ready in Loyal.”
“I always wanted to be an elementary school principal. That’s where my heart is.”
Schiller is a big proponent of the type of education provided in small, rural schools. He said the Neillsville district has a number of positive attributes, including full-time special education, psychologist, guidance, and instructional facilitator positions. Having one large location with three gymnasiums and a swimming pool is also a big plus.
He said the facilities have been well-maintained.
“The custodians have done an excellent job getting ready for the start of school,” he said. “Everyone I have talked to, including school board members and administrators, have mentioned the number of referendums that have passed. It is an example of how the community backs education and the school.”
Schiller is excited to continue developing a culture of learning, respect, and rigor. He hopes to nurture an environment where everyone is contributing, and trying to make themselves better.
“I love the support system here,” he said. “Additional staff gives students many opportunities to help students. That is our ultimate goal.”
“I enjoy being in the classroom,” he added. I will make every effort to do that. I need to be present, to talk to teachers and find out what is going on.”
“I am anxious to get involved with the kids. They need to see me when they do positive things, and also when they need to be corrected on things.”
Schiller believes it is important to focus on reading in the early grades, with reading intervention help as early as 4K.
“Students who are struggling will get help immediately,” he said.
He will also support co-teaching.
“Teachers can learn from each other,” he said. “I want the doors open, to encourage interaction with other classrooms. Those with similar prep times can work together throughout the day. That will grow them professionally as well.”
His first full staff meeting was Aug. 29. He made a point to meet as many of them as possible before that time.
“I am impressed with them,” he said. “They are extremely excited to be here. I guess if they are not that way then they are in the wrong profession.”
Schiller has been reviewing a number of topics with Gaier, and middle/high school principal Craig Anderson. He looks forward to working together as a team.
“Don’t expect a ton of changes from how things have been done for so long,” Schiller said. “This year we will reflect on how it is going, and blend a few things in.”
Schiller has always held leadership positions at every stop in his career. His two-page list of accomplishments in his resume are too numerous to mention. In 2013, the Marshfield Area Chamber Foundation recognized his teaching career with a prestigious Crystal Apple Award.
He received his Associate of Arts degree in business administration from American Intercontinental University in Hoffman Estates, IL. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in interdisciplinary studies, and his Master of Science degree in educational leadership from Western Governors University in Salt Lake City, UT.
Schiller and his wife Leann were married in 2004. They currently reside in Loyal, where she serves as an online instructor for several universities.
Former principal Tim Rueth was hired as principal of Bartels Middle School in Portage. The school, serving grades 6-8, will house about 560 students in 2017-2018. Portage’s total enrollment is approximately 2,400 students.
Rueth was one of three finalists for the position, selected from a pool of 29 applicants.
He worked 8 years at Neillsville Middle School as principal before moving to elementary school principal in 2009. Prior to his time in Neillsville, Rueth was a social studies and American history teacher from 1990 to 2001 at Owen-Withee High School.
“I know he will work diligently to help all kids succeed, and will build a bond with folks in the school community,” Gaier said. “I just think he is a great find for Portage. Tim is a great person with a great heart. He cares deeply about people.”
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