2012 – New Leaders, New Challenges for Door County Schools

Linda Underwood of Sevastopol (left) and Tina Van Meer of Gibraltar joined Patti Vickman of Southern Door in stepping into the superintendent position at their respective schools this year.

Change-ups in Door County’s educational leadership started on the first day of 2012, when new Southern Door Schools Superintendent Patti Vickman stepped into the role that had been held by Joe Innis for 23 and a half years. Superintendents Steve Seyfer and Steve Cromell, of Gibraltar and Sevastopol Schools respectively, followed Innis into retirement this year, leaving holes that needed to be filled before the start of the school year.

By May, both schools had conducted a series of interviews and selected replacements for the outgoing superintendents. Gibraltar brought in Tina Van Meer, a former teacher and principal with a wealth of experience, to act as the district’s superintendent and elementary principal. At Sevastopol, the school board hired Linda Underwood, who had been working as a superintendent in Richmond, Va.

The new superintendents worked with their colleagues from Sturgeon Bay, Washington Island, and Kewaunee County to form an insurance cooperative and bring the districts’ insurance costs down. Southern Door hosted a conference that brought a number of the county’s English and math teachers together to review new Common Core State Standards, which emphasize conceptual and interactive learning.

In July, Van Meer and Underwood sat down together for an interview at the Pulse, where they were hopeful about tackling whatever challenges the evolving world of education throws their way.

“The vision is to just create and continue moving forward and hope that what you create is sustainable,” said Van Meer.

“You’re building off the past, and anticipating the future, and sometimes anticipating a future you’ll never see,” said Underwood. “It’s never done.”