Dr. Michael Meissen, who replaces Dr. Jeremy Hughes as superintendent of Plymouth-Canton Community Schools, has served as a teacher, coach, athletic director, building administrator and superintendent over his long career.
Dr. Michael Meissen, who replaces Dr. Jeremy Hughes as superintendent of Plymouth-Canton Community Schools, has served as a teacher, coach, athletic director, building administrator and superintendent over his long career. / Bill Bresler | staff photographer
Who: Dr. Michael Meissen
So it shouldnt come as any big surprise that Meissen
moved along an educational path that included teaching, coaching and then into administration.
is, after all, one of five siblings whove gone into education not only as a career, but as a lifestyle.
It was important to be service-oriented, said Meissen, the new superintendent of Plymouth-Canton Community Schools.
Even later, Meissen
himself would return as principal.
LaFollette is the high school from which Meissens wife, Karen, graduated (she passed away in 2009), and from which all three of Meissens own children graduated.
There was some kind of special draw and appeal to going back to my high school, Meissen
said of taking the principals job at LaFollette
, where he
stayed for 14 years.
It had gone through a series of changes.
There were a number of improvements that needed to be made.
I ended up being the longest-tenured principal in school history.
That job was one of many along the educational path for Meissen
Hes taught sixth grade, and hes done counseling.
coached football, basketball and track (he played football and ran the 880 in high school, and played football in college at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater).
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was the high school principal, and hes also previously been a superintendent.
led the Glenbard Township High School District #87 in Glen Ellyn, Ill., a district of some 9,000 students fed by K-8 districts in nine different municipalities.
Before coming to Plymouth-Canton, he was supervisor of school improvement and student achievement for Milwaukee Public Schools in Milwaukee, Wis.
Its a varied career he
feels has landed him in the right spot at the right time.
My sense is (Plymouth-Canton) is a good fit, given my philosophy of education and given the fact Plymouth-Canton
schools are built on strong community-mindedness, Meissen
The quality of the schools contributes to the vitality of the community.
That philosophy was shaped, he
said, by both is experience as a parent and as an educator.
Having his own children in the building where he was principal was a guiding force in decisions he faced.
I try to make decisions based on a student-first philosophy, Meissen
When youre leading a school, you think This is what I want for my own kids, and you want it for all kids.
Thats a pretty good standard to have.
last few years in Milwaukee were helpful, he
said, because he
spent the bulk of his
time thinking about school improvement and student achievement, a huge focus for the Plymouth-Canton
When the board voted to hire Meissen
, most of the discussion centered around his
knowledge of curriculum.
(Meissen) has the edge because of his experience, especially in the area of curriculum, board Treasurer Sheila Paton said at the time.
Meissen is eager to get started in Plymouth-Canton, where he said the staff has a real focus on doing whats best for kids, and the board and administration have put students in a position to succeed, particularly with new, rigorous programs like the STEM Academy and the international and arts academies.
I think having those kinds of options available to students is really responsive to the needs of the kids, Meissen
By all measurables, theyve really done that.
We need to position our students to be benchmarked with students around the world, literally, Meissen
Of course, preparing kids for what comes next be it college or the workplace is at the core of what education is all about, he
They have a diploma that equips them to compete with students around the world, Meissen