The start of the new school year meant a new position for Chad Pritzl.
He is now the dean of students at Waupaca’s middle and high schools.
“Several years ago, I was interested in getting into administration. It appealed to me,” Pritzl said.
At the time, Pritzl was teaching science at the high school. He began teaching in the Waupaca School District in the 1998-99 school year.
The Wausau native graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point with a bachelor’s degree in biology and natural science.
Studying science was a natural for him.
“It always appealed to me. It was always my favorite subject,” Pritzl said.
He taught in the Adams-Friendship School District for a couple years before joining the Waupaca School District.
Here, Pritzl taught classes in biology, environmental science and AP biology.
John Erspamer, a former principal at the high school and now the principal at Waupaca Learning Center, was seeking his master’s degree at Marian University in Fond du Lac when Pritzl made the decision to do so.
“I was able to go through part of it with him,” Pritzl said.
About five years ago, Pritzl completed the program. His master’s degree is in educational administration.
He continued teaching science, wanting an administrative position but also wanting to stay in the Waupaca area.
“Then, this came along,” he said of the dean of students position. “I kind of was looking for a challenge – not that I was unhappy with teaching. I wanted the challenge of it.”
Pritzl says he finds it fascinating to compare the two age groups that he now works with – middle school students and high school students.
He sees similarities, yet differences.
“Obviously, it’s a different approach at the high school level versus the middle school level,” Pritzl said. “Sometimes I have to remind myself where I am.”
Currently, he spends mornings at the middle school and afternoons at the high school. He plans to evaluate that schedule.
While the job description for the dean of students includes the word “discipline,” Pritzl says that in reality, he sees himself as part counselor, part law enforcement officer.
“It’s many different roles rolled into one,” he said. “Every situation is different. It requires me to wear a different hat.”
One of his goals during his first year in the position is to implement Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports at the high school. “It’s been started at the high school,” he said. “I want to carry it one step further.”
PBIS involves developing strategies that manage student behavior both in and outside of classroom settings.
Pritzl lives in the Waupaca area with his wife Wendy, 13-year-old stepdaughter Autumn and 7-year-old son Beau. He enjoys spending time in the outdoors, including hunting, fishing and camping.
He is finding his new role in the school district to be the challenge he was looking for and said, “At the same time, I enjoy it.”