Tami Bagstad couldn’t be happier to be returning to the Clintonville School District.
“I love this school system. I think there are a lot of great things going on and there are a lot of great staff and leaders here who are doing what’s best for students and their families. It feels very good to be back here,” Bagstad said.
Bagstad assumed the role of principal of Rexford/Longfellow Elementary School on Tuesday, July 1. She replaces Kris Strauman, who retired after 17 years with the district.
Bagstad’s educational background includes being a music major at UW-La Crosse. She taught band for grades 5-12 for nine years in the La Crosse area, before moving to Clintonville around nine years ago. With the Clintonville School District she taught high school special education and middle school band. More recently she accepted a position to become the Shawano Community Middle School associate principal, before returning to the Clintonville School District.
“I’m looking forward to working with the staff, families, students, and community here, having a great educational foundation for our students to be successful in life,” she said.
When asked if she thought she had big shoes to fill, Bagstad responded, “I think no matter where you are you have big shoes to fill. I know she (Strauman) did a great job here and I’m excited to take over.”
Bagstad said there are a lot of positives about the Longfellow school, but she also plans on bringing in some of her own ideas.
“Right now I am in the process of meeting with staff members individually to find out where they are so that we can put a vision together of where we’re going,” Bagstad said.
She stressed she wouldn’t be changing too many things right away. She said she will work with staff members with any changes that are made.
Bagstad wasted little time to get started in her new position.
“I’ve been in here doing some painting and updating the look of the school so we can create a more welcoming and inviting environment,” she said. “We are looking to communicate very heavily with families, being as this is the first experience for many students to set their educational foundation on. We want to make sure we have really good communication with families to let them know how important education is and how important it is that they are involved.”
She added that her door will always be open to students and parents.
“One of my big goals is to actually be in classrooms to see all the great teaching that is happening so that when it comes to evaluating teachers I have a very good feel for what’s going on in their classroom,” Bagstad said. “We hope to have a lot of parent involvement here. There are a number of things they can be involved in. We hope to put on a bunch of parenting programs as well.”
During the interview process for the position, Bagstad said she had a positive feeling after interviewing with the administrative team and the teacher team.
“I had a very good feel at that point that I could be a very good fit back in the community,” Bagstad said.
After interviewing with the school board and being offered the job, Bagstad said, “I was very excited. I’m very excited and honored to be in this position and it feels good to be back in this community.”
She becomes the second Bagstad to be a principal in the Clintonville School District as her husband Lance is the Clintonville High School principal.
“We’ve always taught together in the same districts no matter if we were across the state or here, so it’s kind of funny we’re back together,” she said.
She and her husband have a 24 year old son and three grandkids. They also have a daughter who will be a freshman this year. During her spare time, Bagstad said she enjoys golf, reading and learning, doing crafts and working with people.”
During the next couple months, Bagstad said she will be busy preparing for the upcoming school year. This includes meeting with the teaching staff.
“I’ve been meeting with them individually. I’ve invited them to come in on their own time,” Bagstad said. “They’ve been coming in and I’ve been getting a very good feel for where they are and what their needs or concerns might be and where we want to go next.”