MAPS: New Principals, Activities Director, and changes to administration team
BY TINA L. SCOTT
School begins for Merrill Area Public School (MAPS) students on Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2023, and students and parents will notice some new faces, as there have been some significant changes to leadership roles within the District for the 2023-2024 school year.
In addition to new teachers joining MAPS (see also new teachers photo), both Prairie River Middle School (PRMS) and Washington Elementary School have new Principals.
Cassandra Schultz, previously an Associate Principal at the middle school level and Principal at the elementary level in another district for the last 10 years, will be the new Principal at PRMS. Schultz has a Masters in Administration from Concordia University, a teaching degree from UW-Green Bay, and also spent 14 years teaching 7th grade. Middle school is her favorite place to be, she said. She also enjoys spending time with her family and pets, at their family cabin, and being active outdoors–swimming, boating, golfing, four wheeling, snowmobiling, ice fishing, hiking, and more!
Megan Kautzer will be the new Principal at Washington. Previously, she served as Associate Principal at Merrill High School (MHS) (since 2019). She holds a Masters in Education Leadership, graduated from Ripon College, and previously taught high school social studies and was Associate Principal at Nekoosa High School for five years. She also loves outdoor activites with her family, including hiking, kayaking, fishing, and bowhunting.
“I am truly honored to have been chosen to lead Washington Elementary School. I am excited to collaborate with our dedicated staff, supportive parents, and eager students to continue to build a culture of learning that allows each child to reach their full potential.”
At MHS, Allie Libby replaces Kautzer as the new Associate Principal; she was a School Counselor at MHS for the last seven years and at a Middle School in Minnesota for two years. Libby has a Masters in School Counseling from Minnesota State University-Mankato and holds degrees in Psychology and Social Welfare from UW-Madison. She is originally from Wausau and graduated from Newman High School.
“I was fortunate to learn and grow with a great team [at MHS]. I am excited for this new role and challenge as Assistant Principal,” Libby said. “I hope that in this position I can continue to build strong student, staff, and community relationships that help foster growth in our students.”
Libby spends her personal time with her husband and two little girls, their dog Tucker, and family and friends, and is often outdoors or at a class at the Woodson YMCA.
New Activities Director
Christopher Hahn, previously a PRMS Teacher, has been named the new Activities Director for the District. He brings 11 seasons of coaching experience in basketball, football, and track, and a commitment to sportsmanship, teamwork, and the value of mentorship, a press release from MAPS said. Hahn has a Bachelor’s in Elementary Education from UW-Stevens Point and is working to earn a Masters in Education Administration from UW-Superior. Hahn also enjoys outdoor activities including running, kayaking, camping, and hiking and spending time with his wife of nine years, Alyssa.
Administrative team changes
Amber Haluska was hired as Director of Pupil Services and Special Education, replacing Karen Baker who retired. Haluska previously worked in the Wausau School District as Special Education Associate Principal at Wausau West High School for three years and Pupil Services Associate Principal at John Muir Middle School for five years. Prior to that, Haluska was a School Psychologist. She enjoys time with her children, ages 5 and 7; camping and outdoor activities; and CrossFit.
Amanda Patterson has been named the new Director of Curriculum & Instruction. She holds a Master’s Degree in Professional Development from UW-River Falls and a Masters in Educational Leadership with licensure as a Principal and Director of Instruction from Marian University, a Bachelors in Elementary and Middle Education (emphasis in mathematics) from UW-Eau Claire, and is working toward a Doctorate degree through Edgewood College. Patterson was previously a teacher in the D.C. Everest School District and an Elementary Principal in the Wausau School District. She enjoys her golden retriever, Rudy; spending time with her family at their cabin; and outdoor winter activities including cross country skiing and showshoeing on the Ice Age Trail.
“In an increasingly difficult labor market, we were delighted to land such high quality candidates,” said MAPS Superintendent Shannon Murray. “Each brings a high level of expertise, energy, and enthusiasm to their work, which will be of great benefit to our students, staff, families, and community. I look forward to working with each.”