Conrad Farner's Statement on Resignation

The superintendent's nearly 10-year tenure with the Greenfield School District will come to an end Jan. 15, as Farner takes a new position in Cedarburg.

Greenfield Superintendent Conrad Farner, whose resignation was approved by the Greenfield School Board on Monday, issued the following statement about leaving for a position with the Cedarburg School District:

"I am happy to report that the School Board approved my resignation from the District last night, effective at the end of the day on January 15. I am extremely excited to be joining the Cedarburg School District as their new Director of Human Resources. I have dedicated my professional career to building the most dedicated, caring and compassionate teams of educators and look forward to promoting and maintaining such teams in Cedarburg.

"I am so proud of the administrators, teachers and support staff we have assembled and nurtured here in Greenfield. Over the past nine and one half years, Greenfield has become an amazing place to work and learn. The Greenfield community passed four consecutive referendums, allowing for facilities that are second to none, including an incredible Natatorium, a beautiful Performing Arts Center and a state-of-the-art High School. We have also made significant facility improvements to our elementary schools and the middle school.

"We have managed millions of dollars of budget reductions while still offering quality learning experiences for our students. We have implemented energy saving initiatives that have avoided costs and we have managed budgets in the most fiscally responsible manner. The fund balance has almost doubled, short-term borrowing has not been necessary for years and the taxpayers saved millions of dollars as we came in under budget the past six consecutive years.

"We have upgraded technology hardware and software to modernize and streamline operations. We are effectively using technology to improve learning and efficiency...and I recognize it will always be a struggle to have our technology exactly where we want it. We stopped double-data entry that teachers used to have to do with our old grading/assessment software and are utilizing new hardware and software whenever and wherever our resources allow.

"Curriculums have been significantly revised to meet state and national standards, ensuring rigor and scaffolding across grade levels. Formative assessments are being used to guide instruction and the District has embarked on a Balanced Assessment initiative that will help teachers monitor student progress and encourage students to actively monitor their progress. We have invested heavily in professional development for our teachers, making sure that all Greenfield educators are well-versed in the most effective instructional practices in both literacy and mathematics. Teachers new to the District now participate in an intensive three year program of coursework to ensure they are up to speed with Greenfield practices and expectations. All Greenfield teachers and administrators have been trained in Creating Independence through Student-owned Strategies (CRISS) with the goal again to have students take more ownership for their learning.

"We have hired well over half of the teaching staff and the entire administrative team, ensuring educator teams that consist of the most dedicated, intelligent, passionate, creative and collaborative individuals that any district could hope to have. The expectations of the teachers, administrators and staff are high in this District, and the shared vision and commitment is paying off with improved student learning. The passion for meeting the needs of our students has never been stronger and the commitment to helping every student gain a sense of belonging, mastery, independence and generosity is remarkable.

"I take great pride in knowing I served the students and families of Greenfield to the best of my ability and am leaving the District in much better shape than when I arrived. I appreciate all of the work my colleagues have done to serve Greenfield and support each other. It has been a wonderful experience to be part of such an outstanding learning community."

John Seymour January 08, 2013 at 10:37 PM
Why take a step backwards....something is going on.
SBR January 09, 2013 at 04:09 AM
Teachers aid in Cedarburg would be a better and more appreciated position than Superintendent in Greenfield.
Lee January 09, 2013 at 05:53 PM
Why don't you join him in Cedarburg and become his number one fan. You seem to be the only one distraught over his leaving. The man was quite arrogant and this possibly led to his downfall from king of the mountain. Humble always wins in the end. Remember that SBR.
SBR January 09, 2013 at 06:36 PM
I am not disraught. I feel it was time. Clearly this board and him did not work well together and for what ever reason, it doesn't matter. I am concerned with what we will get to replace him. There are a lot of candidates out their, but Greenfelds board has left many quality candidates wary of applying. I have lived in this community and what I have seen is the board asking for, and getting the results it asked for. The fall out of some of these cuts are always going to be difficult. Instead of the board wearing their orders to the superintendent, they used him as the fall guy for their decissions. That's poor board leadership. I also do not see this board realizing the reality of what it will costs for a new superentendent. Farner was way under market, and unless they are going to promote from within, I don't see an outsider with any expereince taking the job for less than $160,000 plus $30,000 in other benefits.
Terri January 09, 2013 at 07:52 PM
I just went to the DPI website to look at Superintendents' salaries. SBR I can see that you are correct. The pay that is offered the new superintendent will need to be higher than what Farner was making. However I certainly do not think that would have been a valid reason to keep the ineffective Farner around. His unilateral, vindictive decision making has crippled the district enough. I believe that the school board did what they needed to do by getting rid of him, even if it has some costs attached. Besides, although the district was not paying Conrad as much as some, they gave him a right hand man, Todd B, who makes more than many in his role, along with a PR man, and several others in positions that are not often found in other districts of our size. Perhaps some of the money for the new super can come from a restructuring of the administration in general. There are a lot of superfluous positions up there. The growth in the number of personnel at the administrative office is not consistent with the limited growth of the student population. Finally I would like to reiterate what others have said on the Patch. It would be a grave mistake to have Todd serve in the interim position, or in any position whatsoever if the district really wants to move in a new, more positive direction.
John Seymour January 09, 2013 at 08:40 PM
I know someone who is excellent who would take the position and be awesome at it. They will also do it for less than 160,000. He was not used as the fall guy. There is information that will not become public, but us on the inside know what was really going on. By him leaving the District probably saved themselves a huge lawsuit.
Lynn January 09, 2013 at 09:08 PM
Come on - start thinking here...you don't pay someone to leave the district if they did something wrong - you pay someone to cover yourselves. Anyone watching or attending the board meetings have witnessed the hostility and base-less accusations made by several board members who ended up having to eat crow in public later. Who in their right mind would want to work in that kind of battle zone? You are going to see many other people leave the district out of fear to ticking off one of these board members and losing their job next. Is that how you want the district to be run? By fear and intimidation? BTW - How much is a search going to cost to replace the Superintendant? I am guessing it will be in the thousands…and they will want more then he made to put up with this kind of treatment. Sad....
Lynn January 09, 2013 at 09:14 PM
Terri - where are you getting your "growth" numbers from? From what I understand they have lost administrative positions left and right...No HR manager, No Technology Manager, No Gifted and Talented Coordinator, No Building and Grounds Manager, No Curriculum Development person, No Assist Superintendent. That's just from what I can recall by my memory comparing back to when my sons were in the schools. That doesn’t appear to be adding staff to me.
John Seymour January 09, 2013 at 09:18 PM
How about all of the "coordinators". If you have a coordinator for every subject and level...what does Bugnacki do?
John Seymour January 09, 2013 at 09:35 PM
Lynn, you have no idea what really went on. There are suits pending against Farner and the GSD right now. That is why he left. When a person sits in meetings and yells and screams at people and plots on how to fire teachers...nothing positive moves forward. Farner is a man on the edge...it's a great thing he left.
John Seymour January 09, 2013 at 11:45 PM
Read the latest article on the Patch...now you know why. This is just the tip of the iceberg. His new employers will be sorry too. Some of the problems will follow him.
RAJ January 09, 2013 at 11:48 PM
John, why now that he is leaving, do you tell us who you really are. I can name one of the teachers in the suit that should go, she lies, does't know what the heck she is doing, I can go on and on. I had to deal with her and had to ask that others were in the room and she not be part of my childs education. Then to find out she took info from the meetings and fed it to parents that she was friends with. Really nice teachers we have. They (you all) should have to follow what the real world does.
John Seymour January 10, 2013 at 12:03 AM
My name is John...and I am not a teacher. Nice try
KHD January 10, 2013 at 12:35 AM
If you have all those positions, what the hell does the Super do??? Terri, couldn't agree more with you.
KHD January 10, 2013 at 12:39 AM
We have good and bad Teachers, just like any business,thats why act 10 was passed, now we can sort through the bad and replace with young , new, ambitious talent.
KHD January 10, 2013 at 01:29 AM
You know, there is also some other school news about Christy Timms, (GHS teacher) who has recieved one of the highest honors in the COUNTRY. It would be nice to see some comments and congratulations for this Teacher in that article. These are the teachers we need to keep in Greenfield. Lets show some support, Please.
mr.chris a engel January 10, 2013 at 06:52 AM
educating children is not about teachers getting awards.its about preparing children to function to the benefit of society.take a look at garduating members of our school system and quit patting each other on the back for doing your job. the three best reason to become a teacher? JUNE JULY AND AUGUST!!!
Ann January 10, 2013 at 11:02 AM
@Chris engle - you sound like a very bitter person - she got the award for the extra work she has done that has also had positive impact on her students lives/education. In one of your other posts you talked about 3rd world countries (which you couldn't even spell correctly) if you don't like America - move to one of those 3rd world countries and don't let the door hit you in your a..... as you leave
KHD January 10, 2013 at 11:04 AM
@ Ann, you and I think alike.
John Seymour January 10, 2013 at 03:01 PM
Chris, you should probably stop writing...you are sounding more foolish by the minute. In order to achieve this level of teacher you have to prove that you are doing a great job in front of a board. It even includes videotaped teaching. It is not something that is just handed out. She is clearly an exceptional teacher or she would not have gotten this award. The graduation numbers in GSD are not dismal. MPS...maybe
Fred January 10, 2013 at 10:51 PM
Farner came up through the ranks. He didn't all of a sudden become a bad guy. Board, unions, parents, turn on people sometimes. Good for him leaving. Hire a person who has been a teacher, principal and a Supt in a smaller district who is looking for a new challenge. Pay him or her $150,000 and support them. Quit whining about Farner, he is gone.
John Seymour January 12, 2013 at 03:11 AM
Sadly Fred he did become a bad guy. Almost overnight. His entire personality changed. Quite honestly, despite my bad experiences with him ranting, I feel bad for him. Something changed for him personally and it affected many people.
RAJ January 12, 2013 at 07:02 PM
I agree with you Fred and others, some of the board wanted him gone for some time. He was a principal prior to his employment at Greenfield. He did a great job. As far as him changing, how would you not when you have a borad and union people always saying stuff about you in the public and on the Patch, and made it impossilbe for him to find a new job. No matter who gets this job, they will never be good enough for the union or others. Leave the man alone now and let him as well as us move on. I find it funny that 3 of the board members were union (1 fire chief/wife is an employee in Greenfield, one worked for the IRS and husband is an ex-cop in Greenfield, and last one him and his wife worked for the Sheriff and he still does, called double dipping) as well and get a pension from us tax payers.
Buck Star January 12, 2013 at 07:44 PM
RAJ, your reply is just off. What's your point about board members once being union members? The retired fire chief was non-union for many years while deputy chief, assistant chief and chief. His wife is not a union employee and I don't think you understand the term "double dipping" in regards to the Sheriff. I'm glad to finally have a board who doesn't just rubber stamp everything Farner wants. The only thing I agree with is that it's time for us to move on.


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