New principal settles in at New Richmond High SchoolTom Wissink’s new job as principal at New Richmond High School will be a bit of a change from his previous position at Sumner Memorial High School in Sullivan, Maine, but he’s up to the challenge.
By: By Jackie Grumish, New Richmond News
Tom Wissink’s new job as principal at New Richmond High School will be a bit of a change from his previous position at Sumner Memorial High School in Sullivan, Maine, but he’s up to the challenge.
“Maine was an opportunity for something new and an opportunity to take a risk,” he said. “The job itself was a great challenge.”
The difference between New Richmond High School and Sumner Memorial High School is more than just the size of the schools – it’s the performance of the students.
New Richmond High School, with a projected enrollment of 847 for the 2012-13 school year, scored the highest ACT average in the area in 2011. That’s compared to the 275-student Sumner Memorial High School, which is considered one of the poorest performing schools in Maine.
“They’re great kids and great people,” he said. “And they’re improving, but they’re not where they need to be yet.”
While Maine was a great experience, Wissink said he’s happy to be back in his home state.
“Wisconsin is home, we have family here,” he said. “We’re extremely happy to be in New Richmond because of its great schools and community.”
Wissink officially started on July 2. He’s been commuting from Spooner, but will soon make the move to a home in New Richmond with his wife, Kelly, and three of his five children. His other two kids are grown and living on their own.
Wissink said New Richmond represents everything he loves about a community.
“This is an amazing school,” he said of the new New Richmond High School. “That the community passed the referendum just goes to show the support the community has for education.”
Wissink got his bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh and later obtained his master’s degree in administration from UW-Madison. His career began in the classroom in 1995, when he landed a job as a social studies teacher at Oshkosh West High School. After nine years of teaching he became the dean of students at West, where he served for another three years. In 2007 he accepted an assistant principal position at Oshkosh North High School, where he worked until 2010, when he accepted the principal position at Sumner Memorial High School in Sullivan, Maine.
Wissink said he sometimes misses his days as a teacher and the interaction he had with students; however, he plans to be accessible in his role as principal.
“I love being out with the students and staff in the classroom,” he said.
He also plans to attend many of the school’s extracurricular offerings, including sports contests and music performances.
“We didn’t have a football team at my old high school,” he said. “That’ll be huge for Friday nights. I’m really looking forward to going to games with my family.”
Wissink said that while New Richmond is doing a lot of things right when it comes to education, he hopes to make it even better.
“New Richmond has a really strong foundation with the preparation of students and a good, quality staff,” he said. “I’m hoping to use my experience and skills to help move that forward.”
Wissink said his No. 1 goal is to prepare students for their futures.
“We want our students to leave here career and college ready,” he said. “We want to prepare them for their career or the next step in their education.”