Jeff Holmes to resign from District Administrator position here
Holmes named Superintendent of Germantown School District

Montello School District residents had a surprise announcement this week, when District Administrator Jeff Holmes announced he has accepted a new position in Germantown.

The Montello School Board will act on his resignation at a special board meeting this Thursday, May 23rd, at 6:30 p.m. The resignation will be effective as of June 30th.

The Germantown School District announced Monday, that they have named Holmes as their new Superintendent. The district will be quite larger than Montello, with six separate schools and 4,000 students. Germantown is located in eastern Wisconsin, north of Milwaukee.

Holmes told the Tribune he wasn’t out looking for another position. “Their search firm came to me and asked me to apply,” he explained, adding that is wasn’t the first time this has happened. This time, however, Holmes felt the timing of this offered him a good opportunity. And, he liked the feel of the Germantown community when he visited there. “I liked that Germantown feels like a small community. Even though they’re close to an urban setting, they’ve maintained a small town feeling,” Holmes explained.

“For me, it’s a new adventure. In Montello, the genie’s already out of the bottle,” Holmes continued. His goal has been to change the face of education in Montello, “out of the old Jeffersonian model,” and into the new century.

The move, he said, “…will take the skills, abilities and attributes that I’ve attained and take them to a bigger scale. It was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.”

In reading Germantown’s community survey and its superintendent profile, Holmes said, “It matched me to a ‘T.’ It’s a very good school district that wants to move to that next level.”
Regarding his efforts at Montello, Holmes stated, “I think I’ve helped guide them on a path to success, but now the torch needs to be turned over to a greater number of people.”

Holmes believes the school staff and Montello community have taken “tremendous strides” toward making the Montello Idea happen, “but now they have to change gears – from first gear to second.”

He believes the charter school conversions at both the elementary and junior/senior high school levels here have been great and are moving the district in the right direction. The grant money that came with those conversions has helped re-train people in a modern setting, Holmes believes.

Holmes describes the Montello School Board as “extremely progressive,” in allowing for extra capacity to “get a lot of great things done.” And, he added, “They’ve been able to do that in terms that fit Montello. Montello would not be where it is at right now, had it not been for the open-mindedness and foresight of the Board.”

Although he’s excited for the opportunity at Germantown, he has mixed emotions, comparing them to lyrics by Janis Joplin when he says, “I am leaving a piece of my heart here. It is bittersweet.”

Holmes has spent nine years at Montello, the first four as Junior/Senior High School Principal, and the last five as District Administrator. His wife Monica and sons Jared and Grady are all active in the community and at school, and will be missed as well.

As he spends his last few weeks here, Holmes will be meeting with the Finance Committee and talking about summer projects, as well as the type of strategic 5+ year planning that the Montello Board does.

From a financial standpoint, Holmes sees the district as still healthy through the 2015-16 year, at the present level of state funding, and he remains hopeful that changes will improve that even more.

“When we had the referendum in 2008, we heard loud and clear from voters that they would help us out for those two years of funding, but we’d better not come back for more anytime soon. We have stretched those two years into five plus. The district has a lot of good things going for it.”