OPINION: Whad’ya Know Greendale?
I’m hearing that long-time Library Director Gary Warren Niebuhr is retiring or moving on. Gary has been a fixture in Greendale’s downtown for many years and he has been a strong advocate for adult services in libraries. Did you know he is an accomplished photographer, published author and a big fan of crime fiction? I wish Gary well on his next chapter.
I know that one of the worst kept secrets in town is that the Village is opening a historic welcome center on Broad Street. The Historical Society will be moving its office from the basement of the Library to share a corner of the space.
The Society will help staff the main street store front with volunteers and provide exhibits from Greendale’s history. According to the plan, the Village would provide paid staffing along with the volunteers. Stay tuned — soonish.
I learned that the low bidder on the new fire station came in at $5,109,000. Less the monies for the sale of the old station property to Sendik’s and putting that land on the tax rolls, it sounds like a pretty good deal. The fire department is prepping for a moving date of early March to the Safety Center. I’m hearing the Village is working hard to build temporary accommodations for firefighters and their equipment at the Safety Center. Sounds like great teamwork to me.
Over at the schools, the hunt for Greendale’s next superintendent continues. Between the search for John Tharp and his successor, the school board will have spent $40,000+ on search firms for the district’s superintendent in the last three years. Let’s hope they bring home a winner this time around.
People are asking me when the board will make a decision. According to their timeline, “they anticipate … selection” of the new superintendent by April.
The community forums with the finalists were lightly attended. School insiders and Village leaders tell me — if they had to pick —Dr. Gary Kiltz is the strongest candidate of the three. I learned that Kiltz grew up in Hales Corners — that might be enough to tilt the scales. Fun Fact: The Whitnall School District is looking for a superintendent too.
What isn’t known? Which Greendale candidates weren’t given a closer, second look by the board and will they settle because it is easier? Or, will they have the courage to keep looking for a better fit or bolder choice if they need to? Hey, Paul Strobel is doing a good job as our Interim.
I’ve also heard some audible grumbling about the search firm’s candidates not meeting expectations — given how much we’re paying. As one insider put it, “Another expensive CEO search and we end up with three candidates that would have applied if we posted a help wanted ad on Craigslist.”
A number of regional and high performing districts are by-passing the finder fee route, instead opting to quietly conduct superintendent searches using internal resources. Might be something to look into next time.
The person the board chooses will have a big leadership test right up front requiring some serious community building skills. The signs are there that the district has been quietly planning and gearing up for a referendum — mostly for facilities upgrades. The next superintendent will have to lead that charge.
Let’s hope the school board has moved on from last year’s $26 million Taj Mahal gymnasium ideas. However, I have heard complaints from some parents that our school sports facilities are simply not up to par.
The country is in the midst of a youth sports revolution with participation in youth sport at an all-time high. Greendale is feeling the pinch and tension over youth sports in the Village is high with competition for resources among youth sports groups, community organizations and citizens. Oh, and there’s a boatload of local politics mixed in it as well.
Speaking of Greendale politics, election season is edging closer. Lawn signs are being planted and the lines are being drawn in our local elections. Voters have questions about those in the race and many are asking me what I know about them and if I will be interviewing the candidates again this election cycle. I do plan to requesting an interview with each local candidate in the coming days for publication in Everything Greendale before election day. I will keep you posted.
Another way you can tell it is election season? The comment section on Everything Greendale is heating up again. I love the comments, but here’s a friendly reminder to keep it classy Greendale.
So, whad’ya know??
A Parting Gif…