Dittberner chosen for superintendent

Tim Dittberner has been chosen as the next superintendent for the New Prague Area Schools.

Two candidates interviewed for the position - Dittberner, currently the middle school principal in the district, and Greg Winter, current superintendent at Braham schools and a former New Prague High School teacher. Winter interviewed on Monday and Dittberner on Tuesday. Candidates took part in a public forum at the middle school auditorium in the afternoon, had dinner with the school board, and then faced an hour-long interview where the board had 22 questions for the candidates.

Following a break after Tuesday's interview, board members ranked the two candidates, with six of the seven picking Dittberner as the top candidate.

Dennis Havlicek moved to enter negotiations with Dittberner. "It was a thorough process, I was very pleased with the candidates, they did a very good job of presenting their views," he said.

Jerry Walerius seconded the motion, saying it was a tough choice between two good finalists.

The board voted to negotiate with Dittberner on a 7-0 vote. He was contacted by phone, and accepted the position, pending negotiation of a contract.

Dittberner will replace Larry Kauzlarich, who was hired in 2011 after Craig Menozzi resigned. Kauzlarich, a retired superintendent from Jordan, signed on for a second year at the request of the board last year, but announced in January that he would leave at the end of his current contract.

Assuming a contract is negotiated, Dittberner would start his duties as superintendent on July 1.

Final interview During his final interview before the board Tuesday, Dittberner was asked a series of questions dealing with his knowledge of the district, his management style, how he would acclimate himself to his new position and how he would work with the board. Among his answers:

• “We need to prepare kids for 21st Century skills. Technology is a part of that, but we need to get all schools, from K-12, a clear direction and a more systematic approach.”

• On how he would acclimate himself to the community in his first six months: “I would go out and establish relationships with all district stakeholders. The big thing is to build trust. You say what you’re going to do and you make sure you do what you say you’re going to do. Integrity and honesty are important. in the end, it goes back to communication.”

• On the role of the superintendent and the board in negotiations: “The superintendent provides good information to the board to help them make good decisions. He is the main negotiator, the main communicator, but must keep the board informed. He needs to be fair to both the district and the staff.”

• On decision making: “Base your decisions on data and research. Align the decision with the district’s vision and values. The bottom line, when you make a decision, you need to be able to defend it and live with the consequences.”

• “Staff development should not be a onestop thing, it should be continual. Our staff development at the middle school is imbedded into the daily work of the school. We’re always working on how we’re doing and how we’re improving.”

• On expectations: “We should never settle for the ‘state average’ and we are not going to stay state average if I am superintendent. (High school test scores) have been state average five years in a row. We can do better than that.“

• “My method is to clearly communicate expectations to the staff. In my weekly newsletter I constantly reinforce expectations. As superintendent it would be my job to articulate what a premier school district looks like.”