The Wisconsin Association of School District Administrators on Monday announced Jamie Nutter, District Administrator of the Fennimore Community School District, has been selected as Wisconsin’s 2015 Superintendent of the Year.
Nutter has served as District Administrator of the Fennimore Community School District since 2008. The school district serves over 800 students in southwest Wisconsin.
Since Nutter’s arrival the district has improved in several areas of school operations. The elementary school has significantly increased achievement and most recently was awarded a National Blue Ribbon Award for closing the achievement gap. The middle/high school has increased dual credit options; in addition Advanced Placement participation increased from two percent to 20 percent.
“I think that Jamie is exceptionally deserving of the award,” Elementary School Principal Carmen Burkum said. “He has done so much to bring the school community together – the community, the teachers, the students.
“He always has that focus for what is best for kids. That makes him an exceptional superintendent.”
In addition to achievement measures, the district reduced energy consumption by 25 percent and has saved dollars equal to that of a teaching position.
This past April, school district taxpayers approved a referendum with 84 percent approval to add 50 percent of space at the middle/high school and improve security at the elementary school.
James Griswold, Fennimore Community Schools Board of Education President, nominated Nutter for the honor on the behalf of the Board.
“There is not a superintendent in the nation who deserves this honor more than Jamie Nutter,” Griswold said. “Our board feels that his outstanding people skills and leadership allows Fennimore Community School District to be an organization of excellence.”
Griswold said Monday he had considered nominating Nutter for quite a while.
“Jamie deserves it, he really does,” Griswold said. “It is a honor for a small district like ours because usually the superintendent of a large district receives it.
“He has got everybody working toward the same thing. When everyone works together, things really turn out right.”
Nutter lives in Fennimore with his wife, Stacey. They have three boys who attend the Fennimore Community School District, Alston, Aidan and Amryn. Their daughter, Alexa, graduated from Fennimore in 2010 and is attending the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, majoring in English middle/secondary education.
Active in the Fennimore Community, Nutter has served on the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, Fennimore Industrial and Economic Development Cooperation, Forming Fennimore’s Future Steering Committee, and Fennimore Green Energy Committee. He has also served as a youth coach in football, wrestling and little league, and is active in vacation church school in his parish. In 2012 he was recognized as Fennimore’s Citizen of the Year.
Nutter earned his Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership and Superintendent Certification from Winona State University. He earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse with a major in elementary/middle education and a minor in special education. Previous to his superintendent experience he was an elementary principal in Lancaster and a teacher at North Crawford.
Lancaster Community Schools Superintendent Rob Wagner, who worked with Nutter in Lancaster, reacted to the news Tuesday.
“I can tell you Jamie is extremely deserving,” Wagner said. “He is a great guy and he works extremely hard. Everything he has ever done, from when he was principal here to district administrator in Fennimore, has been students first.
“From what I know of what he has accomplished at Fennimore, I don’t think they could select anyone better than Jamie.”
Nutter writes, “It has been awesome to be a part of a truly collaborative environment committed to student improvement where everyone believes that all of us are smarter than any one of us. The school board makes decisions in regard to what is best for students. The teachers work hard and are continually seeking improvement. The students take advantage of the opportunities provided to them with involvement from their parents. The community is extremely proud and supportive of our school district.”
Since its inception 28 years ago, the Superintendent of the Year program has become widely acknowledged as the most prestigious honor a school system leader can attain. Applicants are measured against criteria such as successfully meeting the needs of students; personal and organizational communication; professionalism; participation in local community activities; and an understanding of regional, national, and international issues. This award pays tribute to the talent and vision of the men and women who lead our nation’s public schools.
Nutter will be representing Wisconsin in the National Superintendent of the Year Program, which is sponsored by the American Association of School Administrators (AASA), VALIC and Aramark, at AASA’s National Conference on Education in San Diego in February. The Wisconsin Association of School District Administrators will be presenting the 2015 Wisconsin Superintendent of the Year award to Nutter at the joint WASB/WASDA/WASBO Convention in Milwaukee in January.
Fennimore Times editor Robert Callahan contributed to this report.