BY EMMA SOLDON —
Joe Patek becomes SHS’s new associate principal
Joe Patek started working as SHS’s new Associate Principal on July 1. Patek previously taught English at Oshkosh North High School and Cedarberg High School. Patek also filled in as assistant principal during an administrator’s extended maternity leave at CHS and he has enjoyed working with children since high school.
“[Patek is] somebody who has been in the classroom for years and had really successful experiences and is ready to take on a bigger leadership role … [he is] somebody who will come in and not have assumptions about the way that things ought to be done at Shorewood without actually getting to know Shorewood,” said Tim Kenney, principal.
Patek has had a smooth transition thus far.
“To me, the hardest part is getting to know [Shorewood’s] classes and getting to know what things are called in Shorewood versus what they were called in Cedarberg,” Patek said.
Patek is especially excited to get to know Shorewood students.
“I’m not the person who’s going to stand on the side and stare. I’ll be at events — athletic events, drama events, everything — I plan on being at a ton of stuff; that’s the beauty of living four minutes away,” Patek said. “I’m not your standard associate principal who’s going to waltz off in his office and only talk to you when things are bad.”
Some students are worried by the quick turnover of principals and associate principals in recent years.
“I think that it has a negative impact because we don’t have a chance to get to know the administration as well, and it’s not as personal,” said Brendan Nagle, senior.
Others, however, do not necessarily see it as a problem.
“Honestly, I feel like a lot of students are having trouble paying attention to any of it because it’s changing so quickly that no one can really have a set idea of what this administration is,” said Morgan Ricard, senior.
“I think this is a team that will stick,” Kenney said of himself and Patek. “I’m not planning on going anywhere.”
Patek said he loves working with children and has done so since high school, but he prefers administrative work to teaching.
“With teaching, it’s a much more micro-level. You’re worried about your maybe 120 students. When you go into an administrative role, you’re now worried about every student in the school. You take that 120, in a place like Shorewood, and go to about 700.
“Changing those hats is probably the biggest difference between teaching and administrative work. I prefer the administrative side. I think everybody who has ever been a teacher is always a teacher at heart. They like talking to people, building relationships and teaching people things, but the administrative side allows you to do that on a bigger level. I can help teach and work with staff [as well as] students. I’m really trying to make a difference in peoples’ lives,” Patek said.
Patek came to SHS in part because he lives on the border of Shorewood and Whitefish Bay.
“It was a cool chance for me to really work in the community that I live in, which is something that I’ve never had at any other place I’ve been,” Patek said. “I really care because this is my school, too — not just in terms of working here, but because of the area.”
In his spare time, Patek enjoys being active and spending time with his wife and dog.
“I like working out a lot. I played [quarterback at UW-Oshkosh] for five years. Working out kind of went by the wayside, and now I’m finally starting to get back into it. I’ve been doing CrossFit, which is that psycho workout that’s on ESPN sometimes,” Patek said.
“My wife and I have a year-old Weimaraner puppy, and I love spending time with both my wife and the dog … I’m a person who has to keep busy; I’m not a person who sits still really well, so I’m always trying to find something to work on,” Patek said.