Steve Buss

Steve Buss

Elementary schools in the city of Tomah won’t be sharing building principals starting next fall.

By a 6-0 vote Monday, the Tomah School Board agreed to add a fifth elementary school principal during its regular monthly meeting at Robert Kupper Learning Center.

School district superintendent Cindy Zahrte said the existing arrangement that had LaGrange, Lemonweir and Miller elementary schools sharing principals with outlying school buildings isn’t working. All three schools have enrollments that exceed 300.

“We have eight elementary school buildings and four elementary principals,” Zahrte said. “Our in-town schools need a principal that’s there all day, every day. I’ve heard repeatedly from parents that they want more of an administrative presence in the schools.”

Under a plan presented by Zahrte, schools in Warrens and Wyeville will continue to share principal Tim Gnewikow, but Gnewikow would no longer be responsible for Tomah Area Montessori School.

The new principal would share TAMS, along with Oakdale and Camp Douglas elementary schools.

Zahrte said the search for the fifth principal will begin immediately.

The board also approved two new elementary school guidance counselors and making the four-year-old kindergarten teacher at Tomah School of Childhood a school district employee.

Zahrte told the board she will have additional recommendations for special education and alternative education staff at the May 20 meeting.

In a related matter, Zahrte announced that Steve Buss is resigning as principal of Tomah Middle School to become principal of a middle school in Altoona. The resignation takes effect June 20.

In an April 9 email to staff, Buss said he has “mixed emotions” about leaving the district.

“While I am excited about the opportunity that lies ahead for me and for my family, it comes at the cost saying good-bye to my family here in Tomah that stretches far beyond the building,” Buss said. “I have been proud to be a part of a great team here for almost 10 years. Whomever the next middle school principal is, it goes without saying they are working with and supported by a strong group of leaders who truly care about students.”

Tomah Journal Steve Rundio can be reached at

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Tomah Journal editor

Steve Rundio is editor of the Tomah Journal. Contact him at 608-374-7785.

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