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School District 833 selects new assistant superintendents

South Washington County Schools has picked two new assistant superintendents -- one a longtime District 833 administrator, the other a school official and education professor in River Falls, Wis.

Julie Nielsen, the Middleton Elementary School principal with 18 years in the district, will be one of two assistant superintendents for academic excellence and accountability.

The district selected Michael Johnson for the other spot. Johnson is academic services director in the River Falls School District, where he previously served as a middle school principal and assistant high school principal. Johnson also is an adjunct education professor at University of Wisconsin-River Falls.

They will report to Superintendent Keith Jacobus.

“I could not be more pleased to have these fine administrators join our district team,” Jacobus said in a statement. “Both Julie and Mike have the experience, leadership skills, and personalities necessary to help us as a system continue to improve. Their backgrounds complement each other and the focus we have on instructional excellence within our district. I am excited to welcome both of these leaders to our district team.”

The District 833 School Board likely will vote on the appointments Thursday night. If approved, they will start July 1.

Nielsen has been Middleton Elementary principal since July 2006. Last fall, she took a leave to help lead the district’s school referendum. Now she is overseeing a long-range district facilities task force in addition to her Middleton duties.

Prior to her Middleton position, Nielsen was a school principal in Northfield, Minn. She previously had worked in District 833 from 1992 through 2002 as an assistant principal, physical education specialist and girls basketball coach.

“The position allows me to continue to support the work of a school district that I take great pride in,” Nielsen said in the district’s announcement of her promotion.

Johnson began his career as an English teacher, advisor and coach in west-central Wisconsin, according to information provided by District 833. For nearly 10 years he has been a UW-River Falls adjunct professor in assessment and principal licensure. He is pursuing his own doctorate degree at Bethel University.

Johnson said in a profile that he wants to serve in a metropolitan school district where he is “able to impact student achievement and excellence on a preK-12 scale.”

Nielsen and Johnson will succeed Dave Bernhardson and Keith Ryskoski, who announced in March they are leaving June 30. Bernhardson has since been hired as the next superintendent for the Inver Grove Heights School District.

Bernhardson oversees elementary education, Ryskoski secondary education. Jacobus previously said he may change how the assistant superintendent positions are aligned.

Scott Wente

Scott Wente has been editor at the South Washington County Bulletin since 2011. He worked as a reporter at other Forum Communications newspapers from 2003 to 2011.

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