The last thing Oregon School District superintendent Brian Busler was expecting to do this school year was shuffle administrators around to cover for a resignation.
But that’s how it turned out a few weeks into the school year, after then-newly hired Oregon Middle School associate principal Jaye Barbeau told Busler and OMS principal Shannon Anderson “he didn’t like being a principal” and resigned, leaving the superintendent in a bit of a scramble.
“I’ve seen this happen before,” Busler wrote in an email to the Observer last week. “I was disappointed since we all saw promise in him. It turned out an associate principal position wasn’t the right fit for him, and sometimes people don’t know that until they give it a try.”
But there wasn’t much time to ponder what could have been, with students needing attention at the middle school.
Busler decided to move Brooklyn Elementary School administrative intern Darci Krueger to fill the vacancy at OMS for the rest of the school year, as she had middle school experience in her previous job in the Janesville School District. To fill her spot, former BKE teacher and administrative intern Jess Holman, who had moved back to the Oregon area, agreed to fill in at Brooklyn for Krueger for the rest of the year.
As the school year winds to a close, Busler said the “unexpected transition really went well” and the educational impacts were “limited.”
“We are fortunate to have a strong administrative team with vast experience, which allowed us to make a seamless transition,” he said. “Students really liked Jaye, and were sorry to see him go.
The students are also quick to learn their new teachers or administrators, and they welcomed Darci to her new role at OMS, and the BKE students knew Jess, so this was also a smooth transition.”
Barbeau, who now works as a real estate agent for Madison’s Realty Executives, emailed the Observer last week that he’s also working as a consultant for the University of Wisconsin-Madison on a “pilot project as a curriculum developer.”
“My love and passion for education continues,” he wrote. “I enjoyed my time in Oregon. As I said to the staff members of OMS when I left, the school has an excellent leader and a dedicated staff. I appreciative of the district’s support.”
Last week, the district moved ahead with more permanent plans for the schools’ administrative staff, with Rome Corners Intermediate principal Jason Zurawik returning to his former position as OMS associate principal, and Krueger returning to Brooklyn Elementary School as an associate principal on July 1. Busler said Zurawik talked to him about returning earlier this year to find a better balance of family and life.
“I said, ‘Your timing is good, are you interested in returning to OMS?’” Busler said. “He said yes and we are happy to have him back at OMS.”
Busler said he has a “high level” of confidence in Zurawik as a principal, and respects his decision to return to an associate role for the time being.
“There is a difference between the role of the principal and associate principal in terms of overall responsibility,” he said. “The school principal jobs are demanding and there is limited ‘off-time.’ Jason was successful as a school principal in our district and (his previous district of) Wauwatosa and I anticipate he will hit a great stride returning to OMS.”
Zurawik told the Observer on Monday that he typed up a whole page to read to his staff to announce the move, but ended up just talking from the heart.
“It was very emotional for me to tell staff I wasn’t going to be coming back,” he said. “It’s to have family balance – my kids are getting older. This is my next step, and once the kids are in a spot where they don’t need me the way they do now, I’ll review where I’m at and hopefully get back to leading a building again.”