By RODNEY PASCH
I have been following, as I am sure many others have, the apparent issues the Royall School Board has with Superintendent Mark Gruen. I do not know Mr. Gruen personally. However, I have observed with admiration his leadership style. His positive leadership approach is reflected in the educational process so important to student learning. I have asked people in Kendall and Elroy who are active in the community: “Why is this happening?” No one seems to have an answer. The most common feedback seems to point towards an arbitrary and capricious action by certain board members. Personally, I know several of the board members, and I have always known them to be informed, fair, and honorable community citizens.
As a graduate of Royall High School, I have benefited greatly from my education at Royall. Unfortunately, I also witnessed with frustration the deterioration of the school buildings over many previous years. I now feel with pride that Mr. Gruen and the board have elevated the facilities and amenities to necessary high educational standards.
I have spent over 40 years of my career in education as a teacher and administrator and have served on numerous state and national commissions on education quality. Most recently, I served six years as a Commissioner for the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission, where I conducted conflict resolution, mediated teacher contract negotiations, conducted contract arbitration hearings, and have seen the best and worst of educational leadership. There are many good school systems and many good school leaders. Mr. Gruen is unquestionably in the top 5 percent of all school leaders I have witnessed. So again, I ask: “Why is this happening?”