Westosha Central High School’s new principal, Dale Van Keuren, stands ready to work with the administrative team to help staff and students succeed (Gail Peckler-Dziki/The Report)

New principal happy to be at Westosha Central

By Gail Peckler-Dziki
Correspondent

Becoming the principal at Westosha Central High School is a new experience for Dale Van Keuren.

He is getting to understand the culture of the school and the community at-large. It is different from Waukesha, where Van Keuren taught social studies and served as assistant instructional coach for 15 years before being the assistant principal at Greenfield High School for the past four years.

“The geographic area spanned by the district is huge,” he said in a recent interview. “Kids are getting on the bus much earlier than the students I’ve worked with at the other districts.”

And it’s those kids, those students, who have most impressed Van Keuren.

“They have been very warm, friendly and welcoming,” he said. “Earlier today, two students came up to me, shook my hand and asked to take a picture with me.”

Van Keuren also has interviewed at least 100 staff members since the middle of July.

“When I ask them what about Central gives them the most pride,” he said, “most of them said the students.”

Born and raised in Janesville, Van Keuren earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and his master’s degree in curriculum instruction from Marian University in Fond du Lac.

Van Keuren became an instructional coach after receiving his master’s degree and realized that while he loved what he was doing, he could do more.

“I was assisting teachers in personalized learning,” Van Keuren said, “and I had great mentors. Jody Landish is the assistant superintendent at Waukesha and Dana Mon-ague is at Middleton Cross Plains.

“They mentored me and taught me how to put what I learned in the classroom to proper use in the real world,” he said.

Putting people in position to succeed, helping them to do it and then getting out of their way is exactly what Van Keuren said his mentors did for him, and he says that’s his mission at Central.

“I need to be positive every day because I don’t know who is watching,” he said. “My attitude should be one that brings others up.”

That applies to the teaching staff and the students.

“We need to help our students succeed and learn critical thinking skills that will serve them well throughout their lives,” Van Keuren said.

Anyone who leads needs “big shoulders to carry the burdens of others,” and that’s what he intends to do.

“Central is a great school, and working with staff and students, we can make it even better.

“I have been blessed to be starting out with John,” he said of District Administrator John Gendron. “He has served as administrator in several schools in the area, so he knows the culture of the area and I need to learn about it.

“This is his first move into the high school,” Van Keuren added, “and that’s where I have spent my career and I have something to offer there. I am grateful to John and to the board for their faith in me and to hire me to work at Central.”

 
 

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