For the second time in less than two years, Columbus High School will be looking for a new leader.
According to Columbus School District, CHS Principal Tom Fischer will resign at the scheduled end of the school year, June 30.
Fischer’s resignation is pending school board approval. The board was scheduled to vote on the resignation request at a special March 19 meeting at the district office.
Fischer came to CHS last summer, replacing Loren Glasbrenner, who served as interim principal for a few months. Glasbrenner, the current Columbus intermediate and middle school principal, stepped in to lead the school after Jake Ekern abruptly resigned in February 2019. Glasbrenner also plans to leave at the end of the school year for a superintendent position at River Valley.
Fischer’s absence from school activities for a week in February drew concerns from Columbus parents. It was unclear why he wasn’t in school and parents reportedly weren’t getting answers from the district. The principal didn’t respond to an email seeking comment on his absence. Following a meeting Feb. 21, Superintendent Annette Deuman told the Columbus Journal Fischer’s situation was “a personnel matter.”
The CHS principal began his contract in Columbus July 1, 2019. However, based on Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction records, Fischer’s educator license was considered invalid after June 30, 2019. DPI records showed Fischer applied to renew his license Feb. 15, 2020. He had a lifetime license, but educators must keep current with DPI standards by submitting background information every year.
On Feb. 21, Deuman stated the district was investigating Fischer’s situation. A Feb. 24 School Board meeting to discuss the matter in closed session was cancelled and his status was not on the March 9 agenda.
Before coming to Columbus, Fischer served as K-8 principal of the Wisconsin Virtual Academy, a public charter school in the McFarland School District. Prior to leading the academy, Fischer served a short stint as a K-12 principal in Shullsburg, in southwestern Wisconsin.
In July 2019, Fischer told the Journal he spent 11 years as a teacher, principal and dean of students at the Kewaskum School District. Overall, he’s spent about 20 years in K-12 education.
Also at the March 19 meeting, the board was schedule to discuss a performance evaluation for Deuman and her contract.
Follow Kevin Damask on Twitter @kdamask or contact him at 608-963-7323.
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