Milton tabs Schigur as superintendent

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Neil Johnson
Tuesday, May 14, 2013

— Sometimes it's not bad being third on the list.

At least that's what Tim Schigur, Milton School District's new superintendent, has found out.

The Milton School Board on Monday named Schigur the district's new superintendent after two candidates from outside the district were initially offered the job ahead of him, board President Rob Roy said.

Roy said finalists Jeff Jacobson, a 20-year principal at Platteville High School, and Dean Sanders, Lake Mills Area School District superintendent, both declined offers earlier this month.

The bowing out of Jacobson and Sanders left the board at an obvious turning point, Roy said.

"When we met to negotiate the contract (last week), one of the first things we had to decide was whose name would be on it," Roy told reporters Monday.

The board ultimately went with Schigur, who has been principal at Milton Middle School for six years. Roy said Schigur was the district's third choice primarily because the other two candidates had more administrative experience.

Roy said both Sanders' and Jacobson's reasons for declining the Milton post weren't about money, but instead were for personal reasons. Neither gave details about those reasons, Roy said.

The district has not released details of Schigur's contract, including his compensation package, which the board was working on settling last week, Roy said.

In his first interview as top administrator, Schigur said he was disappointed when he learned both Sanders and Jacobson had declined the job because he thought both were good candidates.

"Obviously I care about Milton, and I want Milton to be successful," Schigur said. "I was disappointed that the (hiring) process was going to take longer."

Then he found out last week he was next in line.

"I'm excited, but still nervous … but in an exciting way," Schigur said. "Now the reality is, ‘OK, it's kicking in and it's sinking in that it's here."

Schigur takes the helm at a turbulent time for Milton schools. The district is grappling with exploding class sizes at its elementary and middle schools, and the board and administration are dealing with the loss of public trust over the resignation of former Superintendent Mike Garrow.

Garrow resigned, but he was paid for the rest of this school year and part of next year after the board put him on administrative leave and launched an investigation into his public activities and use of district computer systems.

The investigation proved inconclusive, and Garrow last year told The Gazette he felt he did nothing to warrant being investigated or put on leave.

Schigur will take over as superintendent in July from Interim Superintendent Theresa Rusch. He acknowledged it has been a trying year for the board and the district, particularly last fall when the district was truly without a superintendent.

"We need some consistency and some stability in the (superintendent) position," he said.

Schigur has a bachelor's degree from Marquette University in Milwaukee, and a teacher's certification from UW-Eau Claire. He received an education master's degree from Cardinal Stritch University in Milwaukee and is in the process of completing his Doctorate in educational leadership from Edgewood College in Madison.

Roy on Monday would not say whether Jacobson or Sanders were offered the superintendent position first, but Sanders told The Gazette in late April that he hadn't been the board's first choice.

Jacobson last month declined to comment, telling The Gazette he "didn't want to trump anyone's thunder."

Schigur was willing to trump his own thunder Monday, telling reporters he was most looking forward to working with all school district employees and officials to better the district.

Schigur, who lives in Stoughton with his wife and three children, said he feels the district needs a superintendent who is visible in the community and "genuine."

"And that's not because I'm superintendent, it's because that's what I'm about, about the betterment of the community," he said.

Schigur said that would go a long way toward healing wounds that have come this year.

"I'm just looking forward to the district being awesome and being a part of that," he said.

Last updated: 10:36 am Tuesday, July 2, 2013

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