BURLINGTON — Burlington Area School District’s School Board has announced as of June 13 that Dr. Jill Oelslager will serve as Interim Superintendent through the 2023-2024 school year.
The announcement comes following the resignation of former Superintendent Dr. Stephen Plank.
The release from the district states, “Instead of appointing an interim assistant superintendent, a third instructional coordinator will be hired to continue to focus on the district’s robust teaching and learning initiatives.”
Peter Turke, School Board President, informed staff of the update on the search for a new Superintendent in an email.
“Jill’s passion and care for BASD is noticeable. We are confident in her leadership … to help the district improve and move forward,” read the email.
The full email can be found below.
About Dr. Oelslager
Oelslager is familiar with the district as she has served as the BASD as Assistant Superintendent since the Summer of 2021.
She has established herself in the area, growing up and graduating from the Palmyra-Eagle School District.
Oelslager earned a doctorate from Cardinal Stritch University in 2018. She also holds a master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Cardinal Stritch University and a bachelor’s degree in Secondary Science Education from UW-Oshkosh.
The release from BASD states she pursued a career in education because “it is the rock that creates the ripples,” meaning that the education profession prepares people for success across all professions.
Experience within BASD
Oelslager has grown with the district over the years. She began her career in education as a science teacher and then as assistant principal at Burlington High School.
In addition, she served as the principal at Karcher Middle School for six years leading the school to a “Significantly Exceeds Expectations” state report card ranking.
Throughout the 2020-2021 school year, she served as principal for the 3-5 graders attending school at Karcher Middle School while serving as principal for 7-8 graders at the high school as part of the district’s hybrid learning model.
She also participated in the vision for the new middle school which opened in the Fall of 2021, according to the release.
Another achievement includes Oelslager bringing innovative programs to the district. In the past year, the district launched a full-day 4K program and expanded the on-site before and after-school care to support the needs of local families.
She has also focused on initiatives to strengthen the district including a focus on building relationships, ensuring consistency in district data, and reshaping teaching and learning across all grade levels.
Oelslager initiated the Wisconsin Connect Charter School and serves on its governance board. BASD’s WisCo virtual learning option supports students needing an alternative to the traditional brick-and-mortar school.
The release states, “She brings familiarity with all aspects of the district and believes in both the public school system and in BASD as a witness to ‘the incredible work taking place within the walls of our classrooms due to the dedication, care, and passion of all of our staff.'”
Connected to Wisconsin’s education system
Oelslager has been on the Association of Wisconsin School Administrators (AWSA) District Leadership Commission since the Fall of 2021. Serving as an AWSA coach, she has had the opportunity to help assist other districts with their growth.
Furthermore, in 2020, AWSA worked with the Wisconsin Center for Educational Research and The Kohl Foundation to identify the 40 most impactful principals in Wisconsin. Oelslager was among those named due to the exemplary student learning growth that she lead over several years while serving as Burlington’s middle school principal.
“As we enter the 2023-2024 school year, BASD will need community support, especially to confront our financial deficit,” Oelslager said.
Oelslager will continue to pursue the funding needed to ensure the academic growth of the more than 3,000 students.
“I look forward to collaborating with local businesses, city officials, parents, staff, students, and the community to ensure there is an understanding of our current state and focusing on our future goals.”
The school district’s April 2023 operating referendum failed causing a budget shortfall that compromises the financial stability of the district. It asked for $8 million for three years.
The release shares, “We are going to make tough decisions in the coming year. I want to be transparent and involve everyone who cares about ensuring the Burlington Area School District continues to be strong and becomes even better.”
Looking forward, BASD has a priority for students to graduate with the skills and character they need to meet future job opportunities. Oelslager is fully committed to helping prepare students for great futures.
“The school district is a pipeline to local employment opportunities. I look forward to working with businesses and community members to ensure our students are ready for the career opportunities that exist in Burlington,” said Oelslager.
Oelslager strives to bring BASD’s positives to the forefront.
“In recent years, the negative has overshadowed the amazing work happening in our schools. I believe BASD is the best district in Southeast Wisconsin. We care for our students,” said the Interim Superintendent.
The school board will conduct a search to fill the Superintendent position with a start date of July 1, 2024. In his announcement to staff, Turke wrote that “the Board welcomes and encourages Jill to apply for the position.”
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