Atwater principal announces resignation


Maggie Dickman

Nate Schultz, Atwater principal, is leaving his position to explore new opportunities.

As the school year comes to an end, Nate Schultz, Atwater Elementary principal, is preparing for his departure from the position. Schultz, who is headed to Las Vegas to explore new opportunities, enjoyed his year as principal of Atwater even during a challenging year.

“The crew of Atwater, the staff, the students, the families have been amazing to work with. It’s been a challenge this year, no doubt not a year I expected, but I believe we’ve been able to have a really successful year,” he said.

Schultz says that the school’s main focus this past year was constructing a more equitable school environment for students and staff.

“We started working through ICS [Integrated Comprehensive Systems] modules this year. Atwater has been focused on those modules pretty consistently during our Wednesday early release time.”

Over the past year, Atwater has been working to promote conversations about systemic inequities present in the school.

“Looking at things like our dress code language in the handbook and if that’s appropriate. Looking at report cards and assessment data on report cards. Whether we should be giving a running record, a reading level on the report card. It feels inequitable to label the student on that.”

Schultz believes that, even though the school community has come a long way in discussing and bringing awareness to inequitable practices woven into the curriculum, there is still room for improvement.

“There’s still discomfort, but you need discomfort to grow. I hope that it continues to just get more comfortable for staff and students and families and everybody to talk about equity.”

Schultz believes that his prior experiences of serving as both a classroom teacher and the authentic learning coordinator would have provided a valuable perspective for the staff. He said if he stayed, he would have wanted to spend additional time improving instructional methods in the school.

“The shifting between pandemic models just never allowed for that opportunity.”

Nonetheless, he says that the students have been making great strides academically.

“Our students are growing and learning. Our Fast ForWord scores that are coming back are showing that our students are doing well. So we’re seeing student growth, yet there’s always new techniques and things that we can learn.”

Schultz says that his biggest accomplishment as principal is to have a collaborative crew and to teach in a pandemic.

“Transitioning as a first year principal to not only learn the leadership aspect, but also to lead this community through virtual learning in the fall, then that transition to hybrid in January and then a quick transition to in person in March was a lot. I would say my biggest success was navigating that.”

Schultz says that the Shorewood community really helped him grow as an educator and leaving Atwater is purely a family decision.

“My boyfriend and I have always talked about going on an adventure, trying something new, going somewhere else. We’re going to move and we’re leaving the Milwaukee area for Las Vegas to explore new opportunities and to go on that adventure. You only live once and now was the best timing for my family.”

Schultz says that he learned a lot during his time at Atwater, but what he believes to be one of his biggest takeaways is understanding how to lead through any sort of crisis, long-lasting or not.

“I learned that leading through a crisis can take humility and empathy and as a leader… That’s really stood out to me over this past year, is having that empathy while persevering through tough situations.”

Overall, Schultz is proud of Atwater and is excited about where the Shorewood schools are going.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity… I’ve learned a lot and I appreciated all the connections I’ve made.”