Salem School Board to consider preliminary non-renewal notice for district administrator

David Milz

David Milz

The Salem School Board will consider issuing a preliminary non-renewal notice concerning the contract of district administrator David Milz at two separate meetings scheduled for Tuesday night.

First, the board will meet in executive session on Tuesday, Jan. 21, at 6:30 p.m. specifically to discuss Milz’ contract, and to consider preliminary notice of non-renewal of that contract. No action will be taken in closed session.

A regular board meeting is scheduled for Tuesday starting at 7 p.m. It has consideration of a preliminary non-renewal notice for Milz’ contract on the agenda. The board could take action on that topic during the regular meeting.

Milz has been the district administrator at Salem since 2004.



  1. Bernard Punsley says:

    Jump Back Jack(Niccolai). This is a “Salem Witch Hunt” at it’s FINEST! Jack claims Mr. Milz was given 4 goals “at the beginning of the school year”, 2 of which are related to tests scores and open enrollment. If Mr. Niccolai & Kim McCloud have concerns about student test scores, if I was a teacher at Salem, I would be VERY CONCERN about their response!!! The obvious conclusion here is that if test score “goals”(I use that term loosely!)are not being met, the teachers MUST be doing a lousy job in the classroom. Yeah..I know..”Accountability starts at the top”. Let’s assume the Jack & Jill(McCloud) team is correct..Milz is doing a lousy job…..well here’s a revelation…Bobby and Suzie aren’t getting those lousy grades of their own volition. Poor teachers MUST be the reason. Wow..sounds like I’ve been drinking the water over in Paris! And “open enrollment” concerns, ah..excuse me Jack..the school year had already STARTED when Mr. Milz was given the “goals”. Open Enrollment is a cash cow which basically entails “stealing” students from other school districts and receiving state funding to do so(the district where the student came from LOSES that money!). Nobody does it better than Bristol Grade school! But consider this….Salem Grade School is the LARGEST grade school in the state. We have all we can do to handle what we have currently, especially given the assaullt on education coming out of Madison. Do we really need MORE STUDENTS who don’t live in our district, much less pay taxes here, overcrowding our school? What’ s the advantage here?
    AS for the “District Administrator Evaluation Form….we already have one in place for our school board. It’s call “election time”. Jump Back, Jack! Dave Milz has been a highly respected and valued eduator in our community for many years and will continue to do so. Mr. Niccolai should put his personal vendetta back in his pocket protector and move on to more important issues. I think the community will wholeheartedly embrace Mr. Milz and solidly “reject the rejectors”
    Stay tuned@!

  2. John Capra says:

    Just curious if anyone out there knows why the board would consider non-renewal of Mr. Milz’s contract?

  3. Northwestern Mike says:

    I live in Paris and I actually drink Lake Michigan water processed through a Reverse Osmosis filter. I don’t know what RetroJ drinks.

  4. Watching the Board says:

    Mr. Capra,

    The whole Board is not considering the non-renewal of Dr. Milz. Mr. Niccolai & Mrs. McCloud are the ones spearheading the witch hunt.

  5. soccermom says:

    OK I can’t stay quiet any longer. I don’t think Mr. Niccolai thought this whole thing through. Bernard Punsley is correct. Blaming and administrator for low test scores is absurd. And it will come back to the teachers. He was a former teacher himself – AT THAT SCHOOL! Granted, he was only a band teacher (meaning he didn’t have to worry about test scores), but are you kidding me? Did you even consider that you may be throwing all your former colleagues under the bus with this low test scores claim? I’m a mother of 3 who I sent through Salem. They did well, but they: a. Spoke English (hello??) b. had fairly good attendance. and c. had supportive parents who worked with their teachers and had a clue what was going on in their lives. Consider this Mr. Niccolai: Suppose you had a student who wanted to join band. Tone deaf, no rhythm, lazy, didn’t practice. Would you blame THAT on Dr. Milz. Furthermore, would you blame yourself?? Think it through before that school board meeting. If you’re really digging THIS hard, maybe there is really no stong basis for this action..

  6. Active and Aware Parent says:

    I just want to say it is not a popularity contest…it is about the education of approximately 1000 children, and it is the entire Board’s responsibility to ensure that our children get the best…whatever the outcome is.

    Mrs. McCloud is Mrs. MacLeod

    School culture and accountability needs to start somewhere.

  7. Bernard Punsley says:

    Ok..”active and aware parent”….what EXACTLY are you inferring? “School culture and accountability need to start somewhere”…….is there a problem? If you are an “aware parent”…do you REALLY want dozens and dozens of students coming into our community from other communities to our school, merely so we can receive the state aid for open enrollment? Is there a problem with our “school culture”? (your words, not mine!). Has there been a lack of accountability? When did this suddenly occur? OVERNIGHT? Has the board addressed any concerns they might have with Mr. Milz? It certainly does not appear to be that way. If you know something the rest of us don’t, as an “active and aware parent’….why have you let the rest of us “in the dark”. There IS no “smoking gun” here…………..this is a WITCH HUNT. Enlighten all of us…what is wrong with our school culture, and where is the lack of accountability that you seem to think warrants dumping Dave Milz? It ain’t there!

  8. concerned parent says:

    The smoking gun is the low test scores! If you had a child at the school you would be aware of the negative culture that permeates the school. If that isn’t the responsibility of the administrator, why do we have one at all?

  9. People are entitled to their own opinion says:

    Stop being a bully Mr. Punsley. People are entitled to their own opinions and it looks to me as if you’re close friend of Dr. Milz. You don’t Know the intention of the board either! If you think this kind of behavior is helping it’s not.

  10. soccermom says:

    Well, “concerned parent” I do have 3 children that attend and all I see are positive things happening on a daily basis. Are you not aware of the huge annual Salem Celebration, the PBIS assemblies, Falcon Feathers (which my kids work hard to earn!) PTO spring dinner, the boy scout sponsored pancake breakfasts, the Santa visit in Dec. Take a look at the web site – if it permeates a negative culture I have not yet seen it. I have never had a complaint about one single teacher, staff member, activity, or event that ever went on in that school, and my oldest is in middle school now. If you’re such a concerned parent, why is your kid still there? Put them somewhere else, then come back and report how much better that environment is.

  11. 27 yr resident says:

    Ok now. Let’s take a step back and take a breath. The ‘Non-Renewal’ process is a state law. See Wis. Statute’s 118.21, 118.22 and 118.24. It is, among other reasons, to allow school teachers (and administrators) the time to look for a new job for the next school year if in fact they are let go. One reason school boards are ‘forced’ into using this process is for when they foresee a cut in their budget for the next year. ( Not the case here though).

    In this case, (by law, administrators are limited to TWO YEAR contracts with renewals and this is where they are now) the board may wish to change the language in his contract about compensation.(read Act 10) Or they may have desires to find someone else who is more in line with their ‘NEW’ philosophy. (Read Kenosha Unified)

    The law here is actually working in Mr. Milz’s favor. He is being allowed the process of knowing ahead of time who ‘may’ have it out for him.

    Attend the meetings. Let the process work through. See for yourselves where the board members stand and what they really represent. Show and voice your support for or against.

  12. People have their own opinions says:

    What does this have to do with academics, soccer mom? I hope that your kids are going to school to improve themselves academically and not because of cool pep assemblies.

  13. John Capra says:

    Mr. Punsley I mostly agree with your comments, I appreciate your thoughts. Having served on this board I feel quite a vested interest in the way the board interacts with administration, I made the decision to get on the board years ago due to much conflict between the former administrator and the board that oversaw operations. SGS was in the paper almost daily due to the battle between the board and the administration, and when it was finally over the losers were the kids, teachers, and taxpayers. I know Dr. Milz professionally and believe he is doing a good job providing administration considering the obvious stressful environment board president Niccolai has created. Still not sure why Salem residents would elect someone who was employed and retired from this school, then hire him as a board member and expect him not to have a conflict of interest? Salem Taxpayers go to your school board meeting, from day one this man had it out for a number of our support staff and administration. The teachers, students, and staff of this school deserve better.

  14. Broncos says:

    “Concerned Parent”, I don’t get the same feeling of a negative school culture. Both of my kids have been active and happy at Salem. They are proud to be a Falcon. Can you give examples of how your kid(s) are experiencing a negative culture?

  15. soccermom says:

    I believe I addressed the topic of test scores and what bull crap that is. I was responding to the “negative culture” claim. Maybe I’m misunderstanding what that means. Maybe “concerned parent” can provide me with some proof to back up his/her claim??

  16. Bernard Punsley says:

    Ahh… this is all about “test scores”……..REALLY!!?? If so, you Salem teachers should really be concerned about the attack on your administator, ‘cuz you’re next!!! Low test scores….GASP!!???!!! Bernard is a “bully” , but Jack Niccolai is a “knight in shining armor”!!?? Well, whatever you folks behind the “SALEM WITCH HUNT” had in mind…..if you think getting rid of Dave Milz was the answer……better get another game plan in mind. I’ve been accused of being a “close friend of Dr. Milz”…. and “you don’t know what the intentions of the board are”, I’m a bully, and my kind of behavior is “not helping. To quote Gomer Pyle…”shazammmmmm!” I am fully aware of Dr. Milz committment to this community. The intentions of 2 of the “witch hunters” on the board are readily apparent to anyone who hasn’t lived in a cave for the last 5 years. If I’m a “bully”, I guess Jack Niccolai is Mother Theresa. And my behavior is “not helping”. Guess again…I have helped ignite a firestorm of support for Dr. Milz in just a short day or 2. I do have my finger on the pulse of this community. I think that will be proven Tuesday night at the Salem Witch Hunt Board Meeting.
    stay tuned, stay active and stay aware.

  17. Ilovesalemsd says:

    I’ve been employed at Salem for many years and I have never seen the morale so high! I’m proud to be at Salem…and that school has so much to offer! It’s a beautiful building with a great staff starting at the top with Dr. Milz! If anything, our morale is on the up-swing! As for test scores, don’t get me started- let’s take the top of the top kids like every other country…oh wait, we are the USA where EVERYONE is tested. Let’s talk about how the testing world is constantly changing along with the curriculum. Let’s talk about the many many unknowns in the testing world. There are so many factors that play a huge part in the test scores, starting at the community, parents etc. I worry about test scores everyday…and how many children come to school not properly clothed, how they don’t have a home to live in or if they have school supplies. I worry about the pressure these young children have …because of these test scores. I would rather love to be known not only as the school with good scores, but as the school with great creativity, great spirit and a caring staff which Salem has starting with Dr. Milz!

  18. People are entitled to their own opinion says:

    Wow, Mr. Punsley you sound like a good ole boy! Maybe the board is trying to get rid that good ole boy mentality. Would you like a pat on the back for the firestorm of support you helped ignite?

  19. truthseeker says:

    I think at the center of this dilemma is test scores. The administrator, the principals, and the teachers are all held accountable for test scores. That in itself is the problem. Test scores are the result of one or more tests given on at particular moment of time. Most people can reflect back on an experience with a test that didn’t go well. Imagine your whole life or career depended on it. Then imagine your weren’t even the one taking the test. Your hungry neighborhood kid living in poverty dealing with more than you can imagine test score decided YOUR future. With education reform many decisions are being made about those results, including the hiring and firing of teachers and administrators, when in reality it is something they can not totally control. Granted they are commissioned to educate to the best of their ability, but some things are out of their control. Children are not an entity that can be controlled like a raw factory product. I think when parents and community members realize that education reform is the problem and not the solution then maybe things like non-renewing a good administrator won’t be happening. True education reform involves more that standardized tests and Common Core. If you are parent, google organizations that are gathering in momentum against these reforms and find out what is really happening in education. Knowledge is power. Test scores are not knowledge. They are a tool, and that’s it!

  20. soccermom says:

    hmmmm…”people are entitled to their own opinion” You sound very defensive. You almost sound like you could be Mr. Niccolai in disguise!

  21. Matthew N. Haerter says:

    The situation with Salem School and Dr. Milz is quickly accelerating. What started as a quiet effort to oust a competent leader without cause has grown into arguments that span many topics far from the core issue. We as taxpayers –as customers of the district- are seeing the result of a personal vendetta. An individual scorned from years ago and a follower of current times has hatched an initiative to rid the district of its top administrator. Sadly, this is being done without respect to clear expectations, a strategic plan, or results from an objective and publically promulgated evaluation.
    When we elect members to the Board of Education, it not a license to execute free will and retribution. Rather, it is a charge to represent us as taxpayer; as citizens; and as parents.
    In Wisconsin, we are fortunate to have school choice and have the ability to send our children where we want them to be educated; not where they have to go due to our residence. In Salem, we have the luxury of having the best choice immediately available to us. That does not come by chance. It comes due to competent leadership by administration and passionate effort by our teachers, aides, and special educators in the school. Simply stated, Salem is exceptional because of the people we have employed there. This includes Dr. David Milz.
    In the past years, I have personally experienced the excellence that Salem has to offer. This is not only due to my boy enjoying the educational experience but also due to the privilege of being a part of his education. During my extensive time in the classroom, I hear first-hand what teachers have to say about their environment and what they are able to offer the kids. I see first-hand how parents are treated and how responsive all employees of the school are to the various demands which are placed upon them. That said, if anyone is able to show me a better education or experience for my child I want to see it. Salem school is the place my boy will attend eight years of his education. I wish it could be more.
    If you care enough to read this, please take time to contact the members of the Board of Education. Contact Dr. Milz. Call a teacher. Call anyone who works in the school. Ask them what they think of their environment and demand of the board their opinion. Hold them accountable as they represent you; the people who placed them in office.
    I assure you I understand that serving in an elected, appointed, or publically employed role can come with stress but the minute the experience becomes personal and devoid of the established process, those realizing these feelings need to leave.
    Come to the meeting Tuesday. Make your thoughts known. Hold the board accountable for their actions. I know I will.

  22. Meatloaf says:

    @ Truthseeker…you took the words right out of my mouth!

  23. John Capra says:

    Nicely said Matt Haerter, see you at the meeting.

  24. Steve Brown says:

    After reading all of the comments, I wanted to make a few comments. As a former SGS Board member myself, I agree with John Capra relative to his positive comments about Dr. Milz. Also, Mr. Haerter’s eloquent remarks were right “on point.”

    Just as an information item, Dr. Milz current contract is not up until 2016.

    Here is what I posted a few days ago on my Facebook site.

    Dr. David Milz is an outstanding educator. I have been a public educator for over 30 years, including a classroom teacher, school principal, district level administrator, and university professor of Educational Leadership. And, I have worked with David and respect his abilities, integrity, and professionalism.

    And, oh yes, a previous member of the Salem School Board. I also served on the Citizens Search Committee that interviewed Dr. Milz when he became District Administrator. In addition, I know the wonderful and positive changes Dr. Milz has made to our district.

    And, finally, David attended Salem Grade School and Westosha Central High School as a student. He knows this community. He grew up here. He helped to win back the trust of this community after a previous District Administrator created a very negative and vindictive environment.

    (The FOLLOWING comment was aimed directly at jack Niccolai, who told me in a message that he is “just one Board member and cannot make decisions on his own.)

    Jack, you are correct, in that you may only be one member of the Board, but you lead and have enormous influence over the other two members of the Board, who sit in the majority. Seeing Salem Grade School on the front page of the Kenosha News again this morning prompted me to respond.

    (By the way, I wonder just how much discussion the majority on the Board have had prior to this upcoming meeting? I also wonder if they may have violated any “open meetings” laws, perhaps by having a “walking quorum?”)

    Finally, word about town is that Mr. Niccolai has promised the District Administrator’s position to Eileen Bruton. I wonder if that is true? And, people are asking a very simple question: Just what are Jack Niccolai’s motives here? Control? Ego? People are asking that question.

  25. John Capra says:

    Steve Brown – Thanks for joining this discussion, I believe your perspective is accurate and some of the rumors you have heard, I have heard as well. I hope to see you at the board meeting tonight.

  26. just curious says:

    So Steve Brown if you were interviewing someone for the position of administrator and they told you that test scores at my school have plummeted. We used to be one of the top schools in the county and now we are near the bottom. There are almost 100 students open enrolling out. The 4k program that was supposed to introduce families to Salem hoping to keep them at the school isn’t working. I let the teachers run the school because this makes them happy, which makes my job easier. When people complain we just blame the stupid kids and parents. Is this really the great educator you would hire?

  27. Steven Brown says:

    Mr. or Ms. Just Curious (Who are you again?)

    The teachers do not run Salem Grade School. They are part of the overall school community, just as we in the community are, and of course, just as our parents are, and of course, the students, and the administrators.

    Whatever has your craw in an uproar regarding Dr. Milz is your own business. I do know that Dr. Milz is an outstanding administrator and the teachers at SGS do an outstanding job.

    By the way, your comment about “when people complain we just blame the stupid kids and parents,” is, perhaps, the dumbest thing I have ever heard. I have NEVER heard anyone at Salem Grade School say that about our students or their parents.

    Since I have no idea who you are, I will just say that I hope you (whomever you are, since you won’t even use your real name) plan to attend the Board meeting tonight.

    Dr. Steve Brown
    Salem Resident

  28. Melanie Rudd says:

    I am a VERY concerned mother of three children at Salem School. The school board has made some very poor decisions in the last two years. As a whole, they are tearing the school down. I have decided to home school one child for next year and possibly move the other two as well. Dr. Milz is not the problem in the school, it is our school board. Time to make some changes. I will be holding some parent involvement meetings in the near future to bring some of their mismanagement and poor choices to light. If you are a concerned parent—-Feel free to contact me directly at and put SALEM SCHOOL in the subject line. Together, parents will need to unite to get this MESS CLEANED UP!!!!!

  29. Proud Salem School Graduate says:

    Sum kids R just Dumbbbb, I blame my band teacher

  30. Melanie Rudd says:

    I have created a Facebook Group for all members of our community, where we can communicate as a concerned parents of Salem School. This is an OPEN Group, not one sided. Please be kind and post on the benefit of the children. Please get involved, our children need your help to unite this school again!!
    Thanks so much 😉

  31. Steven Brown says:

    Wow!! What an evening tonight at the regular meeting of the Salem School Board!


    The Board decided that David Milz’ contract will be extended…or should I say…a motion was made to NON RENEW his contract…and the MOTION DIED BECAUSE OF NOT HAVING A SECOND!


    One of the main reasons is that there were well over 100 people who were there…and those who spoke were eloquent and made incredibly salient comments about the outstanding leadership of Dr. Milz, our outstanding teachers in Salem, and the incredible community support for David Milz!

    Also, what really sealed the deal were two fantastic letters that were read, in their entirety, supporting the School District, the teachers and staff, AND DR. DAVID MILZ.

    After the motion failed because of not having a second, Dr. Milz has next on the agenda with his monthly report. It was obvious that he was genuinely touched with the unbelievable support from the community for his leadership.
    There were students in attendance…current SGS students and former students who even held up signs saying “WE SUPPORT DR. MILZ.”

    As a former SGS School Board member, if was really incredible to see the true, honest, and genuine support we ALL have for Dr. David Milz.

    no, He cannot walk on water. But, what everyone showed tonight was the ppower and the importance of community involvement, and how important it is. The Salem School Board made the absolute RIGHT decision.

    And, even though I do not agree with how Board President Jack Niccolai pushed his agenda to get this situation to where it got tonight, I commend Jack for running a good meeting. Letting people speak.

    Special thanks to Shane Gerber, not only for his wonderful service on the Board, but for his support of Dr. Milz and also for Shane’s comments he made tonight.



  32. John Capra says:

    Nice way to show your support Salem, outstanding turnout tonight! Very thankful so many choose to show their support.

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