Letter to the editor: Thank you, N-O-W School District

Dr. KELLY T. BURHOP

As my last day as the Superintendent of the Norwalk-Ontario-Wilton School District has passed, I wanted to take a few moments to say “Thank You” to the Norwalk-Ontario-Wilton School District. I’m a farm boy. I always have been and always will be. My career goal was to be a Superintendent in a rural, smaller public school district. Thank you for giving me that opportunity. Thank you for entrusting in me the education, growth and safety of your children. Thank you for entrusting in me the ethical and appropriate use of taxpayer dollars.

When I came to the Norwalk-Ontario-Wilton School District, I had 10 years of administrative experience at the Argyle, Wis., School District. During that time, I understood that in a leadership position, you can’t please everyone. Over time, I did change that understanding to, you can’t please anyone. Even in a smaller school district, as Superintendent, you have a multitude of people pulling you a dozen different ways depending on their own special interests. As Superintendent, you look at the big picture and have to weigh the needs of the entire district against individual and/or group special interests. What I have done is stick to my core values. They are: 1) Take ownership of the Norwalk-Ontario-Wilton School District. 2) Always try to outwork everybody. 3) Student academic achievement, social growth and safety comes first. 4) Always understand and weigh the appropriate use of taxpayer dollars in prioritizing student academic achievement and social growth. 5) Be honest and use good old-fashioned common sense. I feel these values have served the Norwalk-Ontario-Wilton School District very well over my 15 years as Superintendent. I know what I would have done differently over my time here. I also know what I would have done the same, including some decisions and stances I have taken that have been unpopular and were criticized. I always did what I felt that was in the best interest of the overall school district.

One consistent thing about our society is change. The school, inside and out, is vastly different from when I started here 15 years ago. If things hadn’t changed over that time, I wouldn’t have been doing my job. Fifteen years from now, I am sure this school district will transform to reflect the ever-changing needs of students with the ever-changing times combined with what school funding that is available. In 2035, I am sure I won’t be able to recognize the school I retired from in 2020.

I can look in the mirror and am very comfortable knowing over my time as your Superintendent that I did the best I could. Once again, thank you for this opportunity. I wish the Norwalk-Ontario-Wilton School District the best in the future.

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