New elementary principal in Iola
By Jane Myhra
After 17 years of teaching, Stacey Wester has accepted the elementary principal and curriculum coordinator position in the Iola-Scandinavia School District.
“I am very honored and grateful for the opportunity to be able to serve our school and community in this new role,” she said. “The students, staff, families, community and school board are truly the best around.”
Wester will continue teaching fourth grade until the end of the 2015-16 school year. This gives her the opportunity to work with current principal Tess Lecy-Wojcik, who retires at the end of the school year.
“I am very happy that Stacey Wester has been chosen as the next I-S Elementary principal,” Wojcik said. “She is an outstanding educator in every sense of the word. She has demonstrated proven leadership in our school district for several years and I have every confidence in the world that she will be a highly effective principal.”
According to District Administrator David Dyb, the I-S School Board’s Personnel Committee interviewed six of the 56 applicants before offering the job to Wester.
“I am excited to have her join our administrative team this summer,” Dyb said. “She has done a wonderful job as a teacher and leader in our school district. Stacey is actively involved in many school and community events. She will be a great fit to lead our staff and students into the future at I-S Elementary.”
“We are fortunate to have a current staff member with strong leadership skills and curricular knowledge joining our administrative team,” said School Board President Kristen Hoyord. “We are excited to see how Stacey will continue to inspire growth in both our staff and students.”
As elementary principal and curriculum coordinator, Wester has no plans to make any major changes.
“Our current administration and staff has so many great initiatives in place,” she said. “I will continue to use the strengths of the staff to grow and build upon all the fabulous things our school is currently doing.”
A graduate of Almond-Bancroft High School, Wester earned elementary education and environmental education degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point in 1995. She received a Master’s in educational leadership-school principal from Marian University in 2000.
“I have always loved teaching, but my ultimate goal was to have a larger leadership role in a school district,” she said. “I pursued my Master’s prior to having a family with hopes that an opportunity would arise when the time was right both personally and professionally.”
When the opportunity arose, Wester didn’t pass up a chance to stay in her current school district.
“Staying in the I-S School District has been a dream of mine,” she said. “This is an awesome place to work. I wanted to be able to continue to be part of and give back to such an awesome school community in a larger leadership role.”
Wester chose teaching as a career because she loved working with children.
“In high school I worked in various elementary classrooms as a teacher’s aide,” she said. “Those experiences working with young children allowed me to realize that I wanted to be a teacher.”
Her first job was in Elroy, teaching seventh grade in a self-contained classroom. She then taught fifth grade and coached varsity girls’ basketball in Almond-Bancroft for two years.
In 1998, Wester was hired as a fourth grade teacher at I-S Elementary.
Over the years, she has seen many changes in education, especially in technology.
“The use of technology within the classroom has changed dramatically,” Wester said. “I remember what a big deal it was to get email.”
She expects trends in technology to continue to evolve, especially in collaborative social learning and project-based learning.
Wester currently resides in the I-S School District with her husband, Mark, who teaches second grade at I-S Elementary.
Their daughter Payton is a freshman and son Brock is in sixth grade. The family dog is a Pekingese poodle named Lambeau.
Wester enjoys spending time with family, attending sporting events, reading (both leisurely and professionally), scrapbooking, and being active in the community.
“My family, as well as all the students, families and co-workers that I have worked with, have influenced and impacted me in many ways,” she said. “Each interaction and experience has allowed me to develop as a person and educator. I am very thankful for all those opportunities.”