OASD eNews - May 2021

  • COVID-19 Community Outreach Grant
  • 2021 Employees of the Year
  • Pandemic Positives
  • Alumni Spotlight
  • Superintendent Search Update
  • Referendum 2020 Progress Update - April 2021
  • Recreation News

Oshkosh Area School District
215 S Eagle Street
Oshkosh, WI 54935

A Message from the Superintendent

The first week of May is always a special time for schools and districts across the nation. Known as National Teacher Appreciation Week, it is an opportunity for us to pause and reflect on all that our teachers and staff do for our students, schools, district, and community. This year was once again a terrific reminder of just how amazing our OASD community is. 

OASD teachers and staff have gone to incredible lengths to support students and their families during an extraordinarily difficult year. They have shown resilience, adaptability, and compassion - and we are grateful for their seemingly endless efforts.

Please join us in recognizing our teachers who have dedicated their lives to education and are making a difference for our children every day! Plus be sure to tell the teachers in your life how much they are appreciated now and throughout the year. 

As always, thank you for being a part of the OASD!


Vickie L. Cartwright, Ph.D.,
Superintendent of Schools

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Pandemic Positives

Navigating the COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging to say the least, and the past twelve months have certainly been filled with unimaginable stress and pressure. However, believe it or not, this time has also been filled with countless positive stories and silver linings. As a District, we know that great things have been happening and we want to make sure we highlight and learn from those successes. Our incredible employees have been sharing their “Pandemic Positives” in an effort to reflect on this year’s growth and progress, while inspiring us all. Please take a moment to learn along with us as our very own OASD staff members share their silver linings!

Judith Mehn - ESOL Teacher, Oaklawn/Read/eAcademy

“Getting to know the families. Parents reach out to me more often than ever before. There is open communication and a frequent stream of gratitude flowing between me and the caregivers. The majority of parents, siblings, and community helpers have been patient, supportive, and encouraging. Many parents have put so much effort into learning new things about technology to help their children as much as possible. I am so proud of the families that I work with. They are a blessing in my life and I only hope I can be as much of a blessing back to them.”

Katelyn Dwyer - Behavior Intervention Specialist, Merrill Elementary

“I was able to be proactive in my position and encourage positive plans and not having to just react to situations!”

Lisa Graf - Science Teacher, Merrill Middle, eAcademy

“One of my pandemic positive takeaways is that learning absolutely needs to and CAN look different for each student. I felt more convicted than ever to be as flexible as possible in delivering content, supporting students, and allowing them freedom to show how they understood the content. It was actually invigorating to be able to explore so many new ways of learning and teaching! Had we not been in a pandemic I would not have pursued exploring so many different technologies, strategies, and methods of connecting and fostering a relationship with students. Nor would I have explored the many different ways we can deliver and assess knowledge.”

2021 OASD Employees of the Year

Elementary Teachers of the Year

Kerry Sauer - 2021 Employee of the Year

Kerry Sauer
Grade 2 Teacher, Oakwood Elementary

Kerry has always been determined to make a difference in the lives of every student that she encounters. This year more than ever she was determined to see the “silver lining” and to continue to make learning and progress be the forefront of everything she does. LEARN MORE

Dawn Johnson - 2021 Employee of Year

Dawn Johnson
Grade 5 Teacher, Read Elementary

Dawn encourages her students every day. She is a constant in their lives. She comes to school with a smile and a warmth that is contagious. She is always striving to better herself for the good of her students. LEARN MORE

Secondary Teachers of the Year

David Tuchscherer - 2021 Employee of the Year

David Tuchscherer
Technology Education Teacher, Merrill Middle School

David is a talented veteran educator who is humble, compassionate, creative, and dedicated.  He incorporates life lessons seamlessly into his classes, guiding students to not just be future engineers, but well-rounded individuals that will have a lasting impact in the world. LEARN MORE

Ken Levine - 2021 Employee of the Year

Ken Levine
Math Teacher, Oshkosh West High School

Ken brings a sense of humor that resonates with students and staff. Students who struggle with, or even dread, math, enjoy Ken’s class. He keeps things light and makes learning fun. He is also a source of humor for other members of the staff. LEARN MORE

Support Staff Employees of the Year

Shonda Messerschmidt - 2021 Employee of the Year

Shonda Messerschmidt
Secretary, Washington Elementary

Shonda is more than just the secretary at Washington Elementary School. She is the one who gives hugs, helps parents, puts on band-aids, and has high expectations for all students. Shonda’s dedication to the students and staff of Washington is second to none. LEARN MORE

Doug Whiteley - 2021 Employee of the Year

Doug Whiteley
EBD Paraprofessional, Oshkosh West High School

Doug exceeds expectations on a daily basis. He is a trusted and friendly face, as well as an outstanding role model. He embodies the traits that students who have a history of trauma need the most. He is supportive, helpful, and consistent. LEARN MORE

First-Year Teacher of the year

Rachel Whitrock
Grade 2 Teacher, Washington Elementary School

Rachel is very kind, considerate, caring, and always available to help students and entire families. She gives all students the chance to share and express their thoughts and ideas, and  helps them with problems even if it doesn’t pertain to her classroom studies. LEARN MORE

Administrator of the Year 

Erin Kohl - 2021 Employee of the Year

Erin Kohl
Principal, Oshkosh West High School

Great leaders lead by example, and Erin is no exception. Erin has created a culture of compassion and excellence that reverberates throughout the whole building. She has created an environment in which both students and teachers are pushed to excellence. LEARN MORE

Special Category Awarded for 2020-2021: Frontline Employee of the Year 

OASD Nurses - 2021 Employees of the Year

OASD School Nurses
Marni Depeau, Kathryn Draxler, Elizabeth Lynch, Stefanie Rebholz, Kerri Tuma, Lindsey Uecker, Kaitlyn Williams

While recognizing an entire group of employees may be unprecedented, it is certainly well deserved in a year that has been anything but normal. On the surface, the nomination of our school nurse team this year seems obvious. They have been largely responsible for overseeing the health and safety of our students and staff during this unprecedented pandemic. Yet, having a clear understanding of everything that went into making this year possible highlights how truly deserving they are of this award. LEARN MORE

Superintendent Search Update

A Message from the OASD Board of Education President

(April 30, 2021)

Dear Oshkosh Area School District Families and Staff, 

Thank you to all who participated in our superintendent search Community Input Survey this month. We are grateful for all of your feedback, and the job posting that went live includes the skills, values, experience and priorities you said you desire in the next superintendent.

We had 931 survey responses. Major themes that emerged are included in a Superintendent Search/District Profile created by CESA 6, our consulting search firm. 

Next Steps
Please see our search process and timeline in this overview document and on our website at oshkosh.k12.wi.us/board/superintendent-search. We will be seeking applications through May 9. CESA 6 will then screen applicants, interview the top 8-10 candidates who match our desired profile and recommend five individuals to the Board of Education in closed session on May 17. The Board will select three finalists who will proceed to community stakeholder group and Board review.

A community stakeholder group of about 30 district and community representatives, including parents, teachers, staff, business and civic partners and more, will interview the three finalists in person on May 24. That community stakeholder group will provide feedback to the Board, who will interview the three finalists that same night and select a preferred candidate. The Board hopes to finalize the hiring by early June, with the new superintendent starting effective July 1. 

CESA 6’s team of experienced superintendents recommended that OASD collect community input via the survey and stakeholder group interviews in lieu of larger community meet-and-greets during the pandemic. The next superintendent will then focus on meeting with community members and building relationships across all stakeholder groups in the months following hire. 

You and any member of the public can continue to provide input into the hiring of the next superintendent by emailing me at bob.poeschl@oshkosh.k12.wi.us or fellow board members via contact information available at oshkosh.k12.wi.us/board/board-members

Thank you for your continued support of your children’s education and your engagement in this important superintendent search.

Bob Poeschl
OASD Board of Education

OASD Superintendent Search 2021 Infographic

(click to enlarge)

OASD Superintendent Search and District Profile 2021

Alumni Spotlight: Jon Doemel, Oshkosh North High School '97

The Oshkosh Area School District is proud of our alumni, and we are pleased to showcase their accomplishments in our new “Alumni Spotlight.” The Alumni Spotlight is an initiative of the OASD Education Foundation, in partnership with the student new sources at Oshkosh North and Oshkosh West high schools - The North Star and The Index, respectively. The Alumni Spotlight highlights the incredible accomplishments of former OASD students while inspiring current students with a variety of career choices and life lessons from our very own alumni.

The May Alumni Spotlight features Jon Doemel, Oshkosh North High School '97 graduate. Doemel is a local business owner, and the newly elected Winnebago County Executive. The Alumni Spotlight interview was conducted by Oshkosh North High School student journalist Mason Day, '21. CHECK IT OUT:

OASD Alumni Spotlight - Jon Doemel, Oshkosh North High School

Jon Doemel Alumni Spotlight

Spotlight an Alumni

We know that our alumni have some of the most fascinating stories to tell and we are always honored to share their accomplishments and achievements. Nominate yourself or an OASD alumni today:

OASD Alumni Spotlight Submission Form

The OASD Education Foundation strives to engage the community in supporting Oshkosh public schools. The Foundation is committed to providing resources for innovation, fine arts, athletics, and scholarships to enhance students' lives. To learn more about the Foundation visit www.oshkosh.k12.wi.us/district/oshkosh-education-foundation or contact Theresa J. Duren, OASD Education Foundation Director at theresa.duren@oshkosh.k12.wi.us | 920.424.0395. 

Referendum 2020 Project Progress Report - April 2021

Since the voter-approved November 3 referendum, the District has been hard at work developing plans to address facility needs. Monthly progress reports will be published with the goal of creating a shared understanding of the District's ongoing referendum efforts. 

Check out the April 2021 Referendum Project Progress Report to learn more:

OASD Referendum 2020 Progress Update - April 2021

Referendum Update - April 2021

(click to enlarge)

Future-focused Project Update: Oshkosh North High School Turf Field

In an effort to continue to meet the needs of Oshkosh North High School and the entire community, Oshkosh North will be replacing its current football field with an artificial turf surface. As part of this update, the area will also be equipped with an outdoor lighting system and minimal bleachers/stands. 

This investment will allow the school community to expand its use of the field and will ensure that all students have access to a variety of extracurricular opportunities that are not limited by early day-light hours or Wisconsin’s unpredictable weather. Additionally, the new turf field will be used by the Oshkosh Recreation Department and provide community members with additional recreational opportunities. Funding for this project will be provided by Oshkosh North High School and the Oshkosh Recreation Department. 

We look forward to continuing to share project details to ensure all are informed. Your support is most appreciated as we continue to invest in the Oshkosh North community. 

Free School Meals and Family Food Boxes

Free school meal distribution will continue to take place at Oshkosh West every Wednesday from 5 to 7 p.m. In addition to a week’s worth of school meals, families will also be able to receive Farm to Family Food Boxes - a partnership with Feeding America - which has been extended through the month of May. 

Those accessing free meals cannot enter the school parking lot until 4:30 p.m. to allow students and staff to safely exit the area before the distribution begins. Vehicles must enter the parking lot Eastbound on Taft Avenue (making a right turn into the parking lot).  There will only be one line to enter the parking lot. Anyone attempting to enter Westbound on Taft (making a left turn into the parking lot) will be asked to continue down to the end of the line. This is to ensure proper traffic flow and safety. No one is to enter off of Eagle Street for the meal distribution. This entrance is only to be used by students, staff, and athletics accessing the parking lot.

OASD Wins Award of Merit from Wisconsin School Public Relations Association

The Oshkosh Area School District was recently honored by the Wisconsin School Public Relations Association (WSPRA) with a Spectrum Award of Merit for its work in school communications. 

WSPRA presented the Spectrum Awards at its recent annual conference virtually this year, April 7 & 8. The OASD earned an Award of Merit for its website redesign project.

Spectrum Awards recognize high-quality public relations efforts produced by or on behalf of Wisconsin school districts. This year, this statewide competition honored 52 school districts with awards.

“The work submitted by the Spectrum Award winners is a testament to the importance of school communications and community engagement,” said WSPRA President Tracy Habisch-Ahlin. “This year of COVID has highlighted the critical role communication professionals play in education. The award winners demonstrate how schools and communities serve the needs of our children best when they work together to understand educational priorities and needs.”
WSPRA’s Spectrum Awards are judged by members of other school public relations associations throughout the United States, including from Illinois, North Dakota, Minnesota, Michigan, Iowa, New York, Texas, Alabama, Arizona, and South Carolina. All entries were judged on a 30-point scale in six areas: goals and objectives, research and planning, execution and evaluation, results, language, and design. 

The Wisconsin School Public Relations Association (WSPRA) is a professional association representing schools, school districts, educational associations, consulting agencies and organizations. The theme for the 2021 conference was “From CRISIS to CALM - How to Hit the Reset Button After the Pandemic.”

WSPRA is a state affiliate of the National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA). The mission of WSPRA is to expand the capacity of its members to provide effective communication management for the purpose of strengthening educational opportunities for all students. 

OASD Family Support Series

In an effort to continue to support our families, the District publishes a weekly support series. Tips and resources are posted online at www.oshkosh.k12.wi.us/families/support-series and on Facebook every Tuesday at 2 p.m. Families are encouraged to follow along on the District's Facebook page or website for the latest updates.


Recreation Department Newsletter

The Oshkosh Recreation Department (ORD), a division of the Oshkosh Area School District, is committed to providing recreational services and activities that enhance the quality of life for our community. Check out the May 2021 ORD Newsletter to learn more! 

Recreation Department 2021 Summer Activity Guide and Registration

The 2021 Summer Activity Guide is now available and online registration is open for Oshkosh residents (as of 8 a.m. on May 3, 2021)! Check out everything the Oshkosh Recreation Department has to offer this summer at www.oshkoshrecdept.com.  

Help Needed: Become a substitute!

We need your help, now more than ever! If you or someone you know is searching for a job or looking for a way to give back - we are hiring for multiple positions with immediate start dates.

Substitute Teachers and Teacher Assistants

Become a substitute teacher or teacher assistant and enjoy a flexible schedule. Anyone with an Associate's or Bachelor's degree in any field can become a substitute teacher, however, a DPI substitute license is required which includes completing an 8-hour training course. Substitute teacher assistants do not need a degree or license but should be comfortable working with students with special needs.


Contact us! If you have questions about becoming a substitute or how to get your substitute license, call Jenni Johnson, OASD Substitute Staff Coordinator, at 920.424.1254.

In Our Schools: Good News Spotlight

Lego League

The Perry Tipler/ALPs Lego League Team had a fantastic day competing in the Wisconsin State FLL Championship. The team scored high marks in all categories: Innovative Solution, Robot Design, Core Values, and Robot Match, and won the 2nd place Champion's Award.

The virtual state championship was hosted by Wave Robotics, who did an outstanding job providing technical support to the tournament judges, referees, and teams.  

Perry Tipler / ALPs: Lego League Success

Student Computing Award

Oshkosh North student, Maya Walker, recently received the NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing. The award, sponsored by the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT), recognizes high school students for their computing-related achievements and interests as part of an effort to encourage more young women to choose careers in technology.

Maya Walker - Oshkosh North Student

Culinary Excellence

Oshkosh West senior, Jack Oman, recently won the first ever Fox Valley Technical College Virtual High School Dessert Competition. 

Jack Oman Culinary Success

Impact of Free City Busing for Students

The OASD is grateful for the ability to provide all Oshkosh K-12 students with FREE city busing via the GO Transit Oshkosh bus lines. This service is made possible through a partnership between the OASD, City of Oshkosh, and private funders. Student ridership on Go Transit has increased dramatically. In the first two months of 2020, Go Transit tallied 49 student rides. In January and February 2021, there have been 6,165 student rides! Some of this increase is likely due to a change in the data collection processes, but it is largely due to the systemic change since students became able to ride free by showing their school ID thanks to community donors, school district, and city support.

Women of Influence Winner

Congratulations to Andrea Holdorf, school counselor at Oshkosh North, for receiving the 2021 Women of Influence Award in the Mentor category, from Insight Publications. A panel of judges choose to honor Holdorf for making a difference in the Oshkosh Area School District through her work with LGBTQ+ students. 

Andrea Holdorf - Woman of Influence 2021