New leaders for Hortonville schools
Principals hired for 2017-18
By Scott Bellile
The Hortonville Area School District hired two new principals for its elementary, middle and high schools for the 2017-18 academic year.
Tanya Lange will become associate principal for Hortonville Elementary School, Hortonville Middle School and the Fox West Academy charter school, as well as director of the 4-year-old kindergarten program. She is currently a reading specialist at Houdini Elementary School in Appleton.
Serving as principal of Hortonville High School will be Thomas Ellenbecker. He is now high school principal and director of instruction in the School District of Mishicot.
The Hortonville School Board authorized the hirings on April 10. Ellenbecker was hired at a starting salary of $114,000 while Lange begins with a salary of $74,000. Both begin July 1.
Lange will replace Janice Zuege, who plans to retire after a 32-year career with HASD.
“Tanya comes to us via the Appleton School District,” HASD District Administrator Heidi Schmidt told the school board. “She has a background in literacy coach and instructional coach. She’s taught world languages at a couple different levels, has background with professional learning communities, some PBIS work, spent the last couple years immersed in literacy instructional coaching. So we’re excited to have her join us and she’s also a local resident and a parent.”
Lange has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and teaching from UW-Oshkosh and a master’s in reading specialist education. She earned a degree in administration and supervision from National Louis University in Milwaukee.
She worked the last 17 years in Appleton, primarily at the K-6 levels. Having never served as an administrator, Lange said she sought an associate principal job so she could learn under a main principal’s leadership. Larry Sikowski at HES and Steve Gromala at HMS/FWA will provide her that guidance.
The job appealed to Lange because she has two children attending Hortonville Middle School and she found the staff to be friendly and collaborative.
“Really having that drive to work together, I think that I look forward to working with the teachers and working with the students to meet their needs,” Lange told the Press Star Friday, April 14. “And part of that is really being visible in the school and being able to visit classrooms. I don’t want to not see students … I want to be able to see them in all the areas of academics as well as extracurriculars.”
Lange said a challenge she foresees is maintaining clear communication and strong relationships with staff as she runs back and forth among three schools and a 4-K program. But she is excited to focus on staff, a dimension she hasn’t had with her past student-centered work.
“To get that opportunity to work with the adults and give them opportunities to grow and strengthen our schools, I think that will be a really great thing,” Lange said.
Ellenbecker will take over for HHS Principal Todd Timm, who will be promoted to district administrator. Schmidt is retiring after seven years heading HASD.
“Tom has been an administrator in the Mishicot School District for the last nine years,” Timm said. “He’s been their curriculum director, their assessment coordinator, served three years as middle school principal and six as high school principal. We’re excited about Tom’s expertise in academic and career planning and his business relationships that he’s created in Mishicot. Prior to administration, Tom was a mathematics instructor, so we’re thrilled that he’s coming to Hortonville.”
Ellenbecker earned his bachelor’s degree in elementary education with a minor in mathematics from UW-Whitewater. He received his master’s in educational leadership from UW-Milwaukee. He also has curriculum and superintendent licensures.
Ellenbecker said he likes how HASD uniquely blends a rural school district with the growing metropolitan Fox Cities. The combination makes for a growing and cutting-edge school district.
“The programs the students have access to are first-rate, from the music department to athletics to the student organizations,” Ellenbecker said. “It’s clear there’s something for every student there and the district is committed to providing outstanding opportunities for every student.”
Ellenbecker said he will work with staff to make sure HASD continues to offer great opportunities during an era of rapid population growth withinin the district.
“The challenge is just how fast it’s growing, and making sure that we are providing facilities, that we are providing instructional opportunities and organizational opportunities for each and every student in a growing climate,” Ellenbecker said. “It’s definitely a positive, but we just have to make sure we’re staying on top of it and our facilities and current resources are staying up with the current population.”
He looks forward to the students’ energy as well as no two days being alike.
“I just am really, really excited to be part of the school district,” Ellenbecker said. “I know my family is excited about it. It’s just a great opportunity and we can’t wait to be a part of the community.”