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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Kim Eparvier Retiring As Head Of Peshtigo Schools

At its meeting on snowy Wednesday, Dec. 13, long-time Peshtigo School District Administrator Kim Eparvier surprised the Board of Education with the news that he will retire on June 30.

Eparvier said after the meeting that he had been contemplating retirement for about six months, since he will turn 62 this summer and wants to spend time enjoying his six grandchildren.

"I just figured it was time," he said adding he has been in education for 38 years, and 23 of those years were as Peshtigo administrator.

He said his announcement "was definitely a surprise to the board and staff."

Eparvier stated in the resignation letter that he read to the board: "It has truly has been an honor to have been provided the opportunity to facilitate leadership for the Peshtigo School District since 1995. I will always be thankful and appreciative of the trusting and supportive relationship that was mutually established and shared between this administration and so many well-intentioned Board members who advocated for children. Please prioritize this same trait with my successor, as it is a prerequisite for continued success."

"I also wish to extend my incredible level of respect to all staff and the administration serving during my tenure. For more than two decades, I have proudly witnessed and felt the dedication and unwavering commitment of our staff and administration who have worked tirelessly to benefit and maximize experiences and opportunities for our students. Through their support and guidance, our students have accomplished amazing results. I will forever cherish my time here in the Peshtigo communities and wish nothing but the best for the district and its people, now and into the future."

He has been Peshtigo School District Administrator since 1995, and board members expressed general regret at his decision.

"I think the board was a little bit surprised by my retirement being announced this year, but they were expecting it into the not too distant future," Eparvier said after the meeting. He repeated that the 23 years has been an exceptional experience, and added not many districts allow an administrator to serve in that capacity for so long. The national average is three to four years. "The board and I appreciate the very positive relationship we have had. I attribute that to mutual trust and respect."

Eparvier's decision to resign came even as the district is considering a possible referendum vote in spring for either a new high school/middle school or some major renovations to the existing middle school/high school building. Eparvier has been a strong proponent of building a new school.

Building referendums were rejected by voters in 2015 and 2016. Property for a proposed new school building was purchased voters denied funds to build the school in 2016. Subsequently the Citizens Advisory Committee was formed to take another look at options.

Results of a community survey to determine public support for a building project at this time were unveiled at a special meeting of the Citizens Building committee at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 19. Eparvier and several school board members were on hand for the presentation of the survey results by Bill Foster of School Perceptions, Inc. According to the numbers Foster quoted, response numbers were good, but results were somewhat inconclusive.

Clarence Coble, chair of the Citizens' Committee, was not on hand for the meeting, and said he had not personally scheduled it. He is clerk for the Town of Peshtigo, which was holding its regular monthly meeting at the same time.

Committee members and school board members present reviewed results, but felt it will serve as a preliminary review. They feel a lot more information is needed, along with more conversation and clarification as to why the previous referendums failed.

The Citizens' Committee scheduled meetings for Thursday, Dec. 28, and again on Tuesday, Jan. 2. Hope was expressed that they may then be in a position to make a recommendation to the board for its meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 10.

"There is a lot of information to analyze and contemplate," Eparvier commented. "This is not going to be an easy task at all."

Regular business of the Dec.. 13 School board meeting included approval for hiring Josh Greetan and Jacob Dura as Middle School Wrestling coaches, and accepting Dave Bloch as volunteer Middle School Girls Basketball Coach.

Adult lunch prices had to be increased due to a recent audit that districts must go through every three years to remain eligible for Federal funds. Cost of adult breakfasts were increased from $1.75 to $1.80, and lunch prices are up 10 cents each, from $3.55 to $3.65. There is no change needed in student meal prices this year.

The board accepted with thanks a $1,000 donation from the Fire Tower Run for the SEED program and $300 donation from St. Mary's Parish for The Locker.

The board approved course description booklets for next year that include adding a STEM at both the high school and middle school levels. Eparvier explained a STEM class includes science, technology, engineering and math.

They are also starting a program at the high school level to promote more vocational preparation and will work in partnership with local business with programs that will include job shadowing and internship experiences

Eparvier felt those job-related programs are "highly necessary." He said during his own high school years it was not unusual for high school students to be out several hours a day for job experience or internships, "So now the pendulum is kind of swinging back."

Becky Schneider, a long-time custodian for the school district, has announced that she will retire effective on March 5, 2018.

High School Principal Chad Sodini presented state report card results for all levels,

Eparvier said since the weather was so bad that evening he had excused other members of the administrative staff.

"We're proud to say that we are exceeding expectations as an overall district," Eparvier commented. Elementary increased their performance in factors measured, and also exceed expectations. The high school has a strong hold on meeting expectations. Middle School is meeting few expectations, "so we have some work and analyzing to do there," the board was told.

"We are doing a lot of other things to measure student progress and analyze instructional factors and what effect they are having on students," Eparvier said. He added that, "...across the board, whether our rating is exceeding or meeting few, we know that's not the only measure of success or concerns for the building."


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