Waupaca district administrator leaving at end of 2015-16
By Robert Cloud
During his State of the School Address, delivered at the Oct. 13 Waupaca School Board meeting, District Administrator Dave Poeschl announced his plans to retire at the end of this school year.
Poeschl became Waupaca’s district administrator in July 1992, after the board selected him by a 4-3 vote.
“Learning of the 4-3 vote was concerning at the time,” Poeschl said. “But conversations with board members on both sides of that vote convinced me they would give me the opportunity to be successful in Waupaca.”
Prior to coming to Waupaca, Poeschl had been the district administrator in Oakfield from July 1988 to June 1992. Before that, he spent one year as a middle school principal and 10 years as a band director in Oakfield.
Poeschl said being a music teacher helped him develop organizational skills, gave him the opportunity to be out in the community and learn the basics of budgeting.
“When I was the band director, the superintendent in Oakfield for my last three years was Tony Evers,” Poeschl said.
Evers is currently the superintendent of Wisconsin’s Department of Public Instruction. “I had his kids in band,” Poeschl said.
“When the middle school position opened up, he asked me to be the principal,” Poeschl said. “That was his last year in Oakfield. Then I followed him as district administrator there.”
Poeschl said his experience as a district administrator in a small school district gave him a broad background.
Poeschl is professionally licensed to work as a school business manager, an administrator, a principal and a music teacher.
“When I got the Waupaca job, I could talk about all those areas,” Poeschl said. “I think that was helpful to the school board.”
Poeschl earned his bachelor’s degree in music education from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh in May 1977.
He went on to earn a master of the arts degree in the humanities from UW-Oshkosh in January 1982 and a master of science degree in educational administration from UW-Madison in August 1987.
Poeschl completed his doctorate degree in educational administration from UW-Madison in December 1992.
When asked about his accomplishments in Waupaca, Poeschl said, “Nobody does it alone. It has been a team effort.”
He said he was thankful for having the support over the years of the school board, community and district staff, “who have the best interests of the organization in mind.”
Poeschl indicated that “servant leadership” has been one the most important concepts influencing his vision of managing a school district.
The phrase was coined by Robert Greenleaf, a former CEO at AT&T, who began publishing books on management and leadership in the 1970s.
Poeschl said the role of a leader is to put processes in place that allow others to be successful at what they do.
“Everyone has something to offer. Sometimes they don’t have the resources or the right job descriptions to match their strengths,” Poeschl said. “As a servant leader, it was my job to arrange for those resources or to put people in jobs where they can be successful.”
Poeschl also pointed to the district’s successful efforts to pass a referendum and build a new high school in 2000.
“I knew that this district needed a new high school, but based on the history of previous efforts, I wasn’t sure the community would support building another high school,” Poeschl said. “However, we built up trust in the community. That allowed us to pass the referendum ahd build quality facilities that will be here for a long time.”
In his State of the School Address, Poeschl said, “Graduates of the School District of Waupaca have had the opportunity to perform on a professional grade stage in a comfortable auditorium, and on well maintained athletic fields, in front of large crowds. They have been educated in spacious facilities equipped with the latest technology infrastructure and taught with state of the art devices by teachers who know how to use them.”
Poeschl also noted that the Waupaca School District has provided a quality education that goes beyond academics and beyond the classroom to inspire lifelong memories.
“Just think how well we do in those areas not measured by standardized tests,” Poeschl said in his address. “Our graduates will remember their opportunity to be a member of a Destination Imagination team that earned the right to go to World Finals. Our FFA students will forever be proud of their standing as No. 1 in Wisconsin and top 10 in the nation. Our student athletes will remember their opportunities to compete at local, sectional, regional and state competitions.
“Band and choir students will remember their performances in front of appreciative audiences along with their award winning performances in New York and Florida. Our art students will remember their trips to art museums, and our forensic and chess students will remember their opportunities to compete against national talent,” Poeschl said.
Poeschl said he and his wife Vicki plan to remain in the Waupaca area after his retirement. He will continue serving as chairman of the board of directors for ThedaCare Medical Center-Waupaca.
“I believe I’m leaving the district in a good situation,” Poeschl said. “As a band director, I learned to organize a program so that people left wanting more rather than being glad that it’s over. That’s how I feel about this position.”