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Dodge’s back at EHS; now in office, not classroom

Jon Dodge assumed responsibilities as assistant principal at Ellsworth High School, succeeding Bill Fuller, effective this month. Dodge is a former local teacher and coach who was most recently the school principal in Granton. (Photo by Bill Kirk).

Welcome back, Jon Dodge.

Students and staff at Ellsworth High School will likely extend the greeting to the former local teacher and coach in the next few months. Gone just a year, Dodge is returning as part of the administrative team; he succeeded the retired Bill Fuller as EHS’ assistant principal July 1.

“I felt more attached to this school district when I was here before than any of those where I’ve been,” he said Friday, pleased with Ellsworth’s focus on education and progressive thinking.

Moreover, his new duties in the assistant principal’s office fit his strengths, he said. He’ll mainly be responsible for attendance and discipline, besides some supervision of teachers.

The new assistant said he first thought about becoming an administrator nearing the end of his 14-year stint with Durand Schools. He was familiar with some of the Ellsworth staffers from coaching because the two districts are close-neighbor members in the Middle Border Conference (MBC). Early in his first year with Ellsworth (2008-09), a couple of those friends sent him e-mails encouraging him to consider taking an administration program at UW-River Falls.

“At first, I laughed it off,” he said, adding his mind ultimately changed and he decided to pursue it.

The program typically lasts two years and includes a summer, he said. Students create a portfolio of projects, which they must defend before a panel of university personnel. They’re either approved or disapproved based on that performance.

Dodge was eager to capitalize on his newly earned endorsement. He accepted the grades 4YK through 12 principal position in Granton, in West Central Wisconsin’s Clark County, last year. The small district had a total of 240 students (61 of high school age) and 25 teachers in one building. It was in an area of high poverty and he handled the day-to-day operations, so it meant an adjustment.

“I wanted to expand my horizons,” he said, noting, “It was good to get that experience.” (As an aside, he mentioned former local administrators Chuck Buckel and Jim Streifel are employed there.)

Fuller’s successor said he knew about the pending vacancy at EHS. Having a year’s worth of skills gained in a top seat, he interviewed with Principal Mark Stoesz and several board members for the assistant’s post, and was hired.

For more please read the July 17 print version of the Herald. 

Bill Kirk

Bill Kirk was editor of the Pierce County Herald in Ellsworth, from 1988 to February, 2015 and is now on staff as a reporter. He holds a bachelors degree in journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. He previously worked in the media distribution department at the University of Minnesota's Minneapolis campus and is past editor of The Tri-County News in Osseo, Wisconsin.

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