Source: Lake Geneva Regional News

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Butters ready for principalís chair at Williams Bay
Student teaching career began there in 1986

by Chris Schultz

June 09, 2011

Williams Bay — Barry Butters started his career as a student teacher in Williams Bay.

This summer, he will return, but this time as the principal of the Williams Bay Junior/Senior High School. He was hired by the Williams Bay School Board on May 23 over 48 other applicants.

Butters, 49, will take over for Dan Bice, who retired after 21 years as principal in Williams Bay. Bice started teaching in Williams Bay in 1974 and was named principal of the junior/senior high school in 1990.

Butters said he remembers his short student-teaching stop over in Williams Bay in 1986. All 12 grades were still in what is now the Williams Bay Elementary School. He said he worked with math teacher Darla Thiel, who is still there. And, he said, he remembers watching Dan Bice teach social studies.

"He was an amazing teacher," Butters said.

A Delavan native, since 1994 Butters has been a math teacher, department head and coach at Elkhorn Area High School. He's married to Patricia, also a Delavan native, and a second- grade teacher at Westside elementary school, Elkhorn. Older daughter Kelsey is a sophomore at Stevens Point. Younger daughter Maddie will be a junior at Elkhorn Area High School.

They live in Elkhorn right now.

Butters has a bachelor of science in education degree in mathematics from University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and a master's degree in education administration from University of Wisconsin Madison.

He hasn't been in the area his entire career. Butters spent two stints at Wilmot High School from 1986 to 1991 as math teacher and coach and, later, as a vice principal and athletic director.

From 1991 to 1992, he was principal at Viroqua High School, way over in Vernon County. Butters said his wife gave birth in the middle of the school year. He said they agreed that moving back home would be in their best interests.

Butters returned to Wilmot High School, where he again taught math from 1992 to 1994, and then to Elkhorn.

"I knew at some point I would head back to administration," he said. "In the meantime, I went back to the classroom, which was the right move for me."

Butters won a Herb Kohl Fellowship in 2004.

When the principal position opened up at Williams Bay, Butters felt the time was right to make that move back to administration.

Butters said he wasn't throwing his paperwork around the state looking for an administrative position. Williams Bay was the right opportunity, he said.

"It was proximity," he said of his application to Williams Bay. "I don't have to uproot my family."

Butters also said that when he checked on the academic performance of Williams Bay schools, he was impressed.

"It's a tribute to everybody," he said of the district's academic accomplishments. "(Williams Bay) is the hidden gem of Walworth County."

"I'm really looking forward to the position."

On the other hand, Butters said it's not going to be easy taking over a building that was led for 20 years by someone who was well liked and well respected.

"The biggest challenge I will have is to try convince everyone we need to try harder," he said.

The other big problem will be the budgetary woes. "But that's hitting everybody," he said.

In addition to teaching math at Elkhorn, Butters was PLTW (Project Lead The Way) instructor there. The PLTW is a program to encourage students to study science, technology, engineering and math.

From 2001 to present, he was an adjunct math instructor at Gateway Technical College and from 2005 to present, he was adjunct math instructor at Aurora University.