Although he doesn’t officially start as the new Superintendent of the Merrill Area Public Schools until July 1, Walter Leipart took time to appear at Monday’s Board of Education meeting to get a head start getting to know the members and the public.
Currently in his fifth year as superintendent of Phillips School District, Leipart was a high school principal and AD in Loyal for three years before that. He also taught social studies and was wrestling coach in the Colby School District.
When asked what attracted him to the Merrill job, he replied, “I think location, the type of community it is, the connection with NTC, the commitment to the fine arts, academics and athletics. But most of all, it is the bond that exists between the community and the school.”
Leipart said he intends to be both visible and accessible as the district’s new administrator.
“I would be very comfortable in that situation. I’m used to being around kids. I’ll do a lot of things in the morning, get the office stuff done then get out and see what is going on in the classrooms, just be accessible to parents, staff and so forth,” he said.
He said that the current discussions in Madison on school funding in the next biannual budget will play a big part in how the district approaches its own budget.
“I think you really have to wait and see what is going to happen,” Leipart said. “It makes it that much more important to have connections and collaborations with your community. That is where you are going to survive, because we are not going to see a change (in the state funding formula) for many years. So we have to look within our communities.”
Leipart said while the funding atmosphere in Madison is such that it has sparked a wave of referendums in school districts across the state, he hasn’t had a chance to sit down and really examine the MAPS finances to give an educated opinion at this time.
“I think that is something that I need to wait until I get here and start working with everybody. There were five operating referendums that occurred in February and all five passed and when you get into April, you’ll have 42 more. So it is the wave of operations for many districts at this time,” Leipart said.
Leipart received his administrative licensure at Winona State University; Master of Education Administration at Marian University; Master of Education Professional Development at University of Wisconsin – LaCrosse; and, his Bachelor Education (6-12) in Social Studies at Mount Scenario College.