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Viroqua School Board hires elementary school principal

Viroqua School Board hires elementary school principal

When the 2020-2021 school year begins, a new principal will be at the helm of Viroqua Elementary and Viroqua Area Montessori schools.

The Viroqua Area Schools Board of Education hired Patrick Olbert to fill the position beginning July 1. The board conducted second interviews March 18-19. The first interviews were conducted by staff March 11-12.

District Administrator Dr. Kehl Arnson sent a letter on March 20 to VAS staff, students and families announcing the new principal.

In the letter, Arnson thanked Tom Whitford, who is serving VAS this year as the interim elementary principal.

“You may recall that we began the year without a permanent principal,” Arnson said in the letter. “Mr. Whitford joined us after the start of the year and has done a wonderful job. We all appreciate the leadership and support that he is providing our students and staff, guiding our elementary schools through this transition year. Mr. Whitford will complete the interim year June 30, and it is a pleasure to have him working with us.”

Olbert is a Sparta native who earned his Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, and a master’s in educational leadership from Virterbo University. He began his education career as an elementary teacher at Southside Elementary School in Sparta. Olbert taught students in second grade, third grade, and in a multi-age classroom as well. He also coached baseball at Sparta High School and for the Sparta American Legion.

In 2012, Olbert was promoted to Maplewood Elementary and Lakeview Montessori schools in Sparta to be the principal of both schools.

According to Arnson’s letter, Olbert bases his leadership style on the relationships that he builds, as he said, “thinking about staff needs above my own, helping staff grow, sharing the credit, shouldering the blame and being a person of character.”

“His experience makes him a terrific fit for our schools,” Arnson said. “With our similar combination of a legacy elementary school and a Montessori school, he understands how both of these outstanding schools are unique and how to support our students each day.”

Angela Cina can be reached at


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Vernon County Broadcaster editor

Angie Cina is editor of the Vernon County Broadcaster. Contact her at 608-637-5616.

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