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Wednesday

April 2014

23

KM grad get accolades for leadership

Younger students at Poynette Elementary School in DeForest know him as the Prize Wizard. Middle school students know him from eighth grade monthly recognition breakfasts. All students know him as someone who cares. As part of the Personal Responsibility in Demonstrating Excellence (PRIDE) program Poynette Elementary and Middle School Associate Principal Jay Hausser implemented at the elementary level, Hausser spends every Friday handing out prizes to recognize student behavior that goes above and beyond the ordinary.

It is one way Hausser has made his school a better, safer place and part of the reason he was selected as the 2010 Wisconsin Associate Principal of the Year. Hausser travels to Arlington, Va. next week where he will be honored with 52 other associate principals from across the country at a National Association of Secondary School Principals symposium and have the opportunity to talk with Wisconsin senators about education.

Into his fourth year as associate principal, Hausser said he was "totally surprised" by winning the honor, which he thought would go to administrators who had been doing their job for many years. Before taking the position as associate principal in 2006, Hausser taught sixth- and eighth-grade science, civics and communication arts.

Hausser grew up in the town of Ottawa and attended Dousman Elementary School, Kettle Moraine Middle School and Kettle Moraine High School where he graduated in 1991. He received a bachelor's degree from the University of Wisconsin Eau-Claire and a master's degree from Marian College.

The importance of education was instilled by his parents Hausser said and reinforced by his teachers in the Kettle Moraine School District, especially his fourth-grade teacher at Dousman Elementary School, Vicki Braasch who showed she really cared for students by sending newspaper clippings when they appeared in the news, even through college.

Hausser tries to portray that level of caring with his recognition breakfasts, his fourth- and fifth-grade lunch bunch and positive reinforcement from the Prize Wizard.

"I want kids to walk out of here knowing I care about them," said Hausser. "I also want them to know that they are going to make mistakes."

He sees those mistakes as teachable moments and not just a time for punishment. Hausser encourages students to learn from the mistake and move forward. He works with parents and teachers to try and figure out why the student is behaving in that manner.

Hausser believes PRIDE and recognizing students for setting good examples, following school rules, helping out a fellow student or being caught doing something special are part of the reason more students are stating that "teachers care about students" and that "students feel safe" on end-of-year school climate surveys.

According to a press release, Douglas Crowley, assistant principal at DeForest High School said in support of his nomination, "Jay is the type of administrator that any teacher would love to have in the building. He cares about students and staff alike and wants everyone to succeed. But, more than wanting, Jay helps people succeed."

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