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Janke new Assistant Principal at Ellsworth High School

Jason Janke took over the assistant principal’s office at Ellsworth High School last month, succeeding Jon Dodge. Janke is an Alma Center native with a career in education spanning two decades, mostly in Black River Falls. (Herald photo by Bill Kirk)

Nearly all of Jason Janke’s two decades as an educator has been spent in his hometown area.

Until now, the Alma Center native taught and coached, then was an assistant principal in Black River Falls for 19 years, he said Wednesday. The two communities aren’t any farther apart than, say, Ellsworth and Prescott.

The latter towns are both good examples when it comes to Janke’s career because now he’ll be assistant principal at Ellsworth High School and his wife hails from Prescott, he said. Janke is succeeding Jon Dodge in the EHS assistant principal’s office, with Dodge relocating to principal duties at Ellsworth Middle School.

“I wanted to find out what another district is like,” the newcomer to the local school district said.

He said he saw the opportunity here on a computer website, admitting as an administrator “you’re always looking.” He decided to branch out while his family was still young and able to move.

“I wouldn’t have moved to any more than two or three other places,” he said, attracted by the solid reputation of these area school districts, including Ellsworth.

Janke’s work as an adult pretty much mirrors his activities as a youth. He liked social studies, math and reading in school, he said, and later taught social studies in four districts. He also enjoyed playing football, basketball and baseball in school, later coaching basketball in two of the four.

“I wanted to teach and coach,” he said about planning for the future when he was an 18-year-old, going off to college. A high school basketball coach influenced his path; his stepmother was an elementary teacher.

Additionally, his father had long said he’d have been a teacher as well, had he gotten enough schooling, according to the son. Instead, his dad, Gene, had a dairy farm when the son was growing up and is now in Black River Falls, while his mom, Viola (Jacobson) is in Whitehall. There are three brothers and three sisters ranging in age from 24 to 44.

For more please read the August 20 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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