School superintendent Dr. Jon Bales announced today that he will leave his post as head of the DeForest Area School District at the end of this school year to become the Executive Director of the Wisconsin Association of School District Administrators (WASDA), based in Madison.
Bales, who has led the district for 15 years, said “I will relish every moment of this year in which I get to be a participant with my colleagues in DASD and people in this community,” Bales said. “I enjoyed every opportunity I have had over the years to help bring people together to ‘build community’ and improve the quality of life for all of us – especially our children.”
Bales said leaving the DeForest staff and community will be difficult but he’s leaving with a sense of pride and confidence in the DASD Board of Education and staff to continue the district’s tradition of excellence.
“Our school board members are bright, principled and absolutely committed to continuously improving what the district did for students and staff,” he said. “They also see the important role schools play in the overall quality of life in a community. It is the district’s and board’s energy and focus that has established DeForest as one of the top districts in Wisconsin,” Bales said.
“We have an amazing staff and quite honestly, one of the most effective governing boards in Wisconsin – and that’s not just my opinion, ask anyone involved in education around the state,” he said. “We have a culture of continuous improvement and strive to be excellent. Norski Pride is not just a sound bite.”
Bales sees his new position with WASDA as an opportunity to represent professional educators and young people across the state. “I believe public education is at a critical juncture in our history and I am committed to doing all I can to advocate for students and public schools,” he said. “I have an opportunity to effect change in public policy and educational practice at 425 districts in the state. I can’t think of a better purpose in my profession. This district has reinforced in me the importance of acting according to commonly held guiding principles and not individual interests. I won’t lose that.”
While disappointed that Bales is leaving DeForest, DASD school board president Jan Berg acknowledged that he is a good choice for the executive director position. “His talents, knowledge, and experience make this a very good match for him.” She continued, “We are very happy for Jon. We are pleased that the caliber of his leadership is being acknowledged by this statewide organization of his peers, who have chosen to have him as their leader. While at the same time, we are extremely sorry he is leaving us.”
Berg is pleased that Bales will remain with the District until the end of the 2012-13 school year. “This allows the Board of Education time to do a search for his replacement, and provides for some transition time as well. During this school year, Dr. Bales will continue to implement the Boards’ initiatives and will continue to act with our full support and authority,” said Berg.