Cross Town Principal Switch

Wauwatosa+East+Principal%2C+Nick+Hughes%2C+sits+at+his+new+desk+at+Wauwatosa+West.+Hughes+will+be+the+acting+principal+until+March+to+account+for+West+Principal%2C+Ebony+Grices%2C+medical+leave.+

Annabelle Wooster

Wauwatosa East Principal, Nick Hughes, sits at his new desk at Wauwatosa West. Hughes will be the acting principal until March to account for West Principal, Ebony Grice’s, medical leave.

As students, teachers and staff came back from break on January 3rd, they were met with an email in their inbox indicating a substantial change that would impact principal administration at both Wauwatosa East and Wauwatosa West.

“Beginning January 10, 2022, Mr. Nick Hughes, current principal at Wauwatosa East High School, will be serving as acting principal at Wauwatosa West” the email stated.

The email described the change as “temporary” but it is set to last through March 4th, 2022 to account for principal Ebony Grice’s extended medical leave. 

“I will miss Mrs. Grice because she is so kind and you always see her in the hallways having conversations with students. She is involved with our school so much so there will be a change” said Mari Scheuber, a junior. 

Leah Klaybor and Adam Bold, both current assistant principals at West, will continue to serve those positions however administration will look slightly different at East. 

“Ms. McGinnity will be the lead principal at East while I am at West.  Mr. Stein will continue to work as an assistant principal and we have another staff member, Mrs. Lato, leaving her classroom as band director to help with student issues, etc during this time,” said Hughes. 

McGinnity has been an assistant principal at East for three years and Stein for two. Before coming to East, McGinnity was a counselor in the Milwaukee Public School District and Stein was a special education teacher at East. For Hughes, his career actually started at West. 

“My first ‘real’ job after graduating from college was as a student supervisor at Tosa West,” he said. “I know many of the staff members from my years in Tosa and hope I can use those relationships to transition smoothly (in)to this new role.”

After starting his career at West, Hughes then went to serve five years as a social studies teacher in the Mukwonago School District where he then eventually gained a year’s experience as an assistant principal. After Mukwonago, Hughes transitioned to the role of assistant principal at East in 2000. He was then promoted to lead principal in 2006 and has been serving that title for 16 years. 

When Hughes broke the news to his staff on Monday, December 20th, emotions ran high. 

“As he gave us this information, the theatre… was SILENT. It could have been because we are…always bracing for more and more bad news…, but I think it could have also been because…on top of all the chaos of school right now, we’re having an additional ‘shake up.’ Overall, I think most of the staff members are just wanting to keep things as consistent as we can right now, and we are familiar with Mr. Hughes’ leadership style, so we kind of want to keep what we’re familiar with during this time…and I’m sure if it were up to him, he would stay at East too,” said Megan Sampson, an English teacher at Wauwatosa East. 

Sampson also expressed getting feedback from her students who were confused with the administrative switch. 

“When I asked my students how they felt about Mr. Hughes’ announcement that he would be the acting principal at West until March 7th, many of them said things like, ‘Why can’t one of their (assistant principals) be their acting principal?’ Probably because they see that that’s what Ms. McGinnity will be doing over here, and so they’re wondering why they didn’t just do that with the (assistant principals) at West… I think overall the students are kind of just not feeling like ‘sharing’ with West,” she continued. 

So how is a decision like this made? Well, the direction comes from the district and is made to best balance veteran administrative abilities between the two high schools. 

“Administrative staffing is a superintendent decision. It was determined that it was in the best interest of Wauwatosa West to have Mr. Hughes support the school based on the combined tenure of the associate principals at the school. Overall, the administrative team at Wauwatosa East has more experience… the team at Wauwatosa East could afford to have Mr. Hughes come over to Wauwatosa West. Additionally, Wauwatosa West has a 1st year Associate Principal in place. It was necessary to have veteran support for the new administrator, in my opinion,” said Demond Means, Superintendent. 

Additionally, Means expressed that decisions like this are a matter of dispersing equal abilities between the two schools. 

“The goal is to have two administrative teams at both Wauwatosa East and Wauwatosa West that are balanced with experience and perspective. The best balance was to have Mr. Hughes support Wauwatosa West until early March,” said Means. 

Elsie Hermanson, a junior at Wauwatosa West, expressed her intentions to embrace this change and get to know a new face from across town. 

“I think it’s nice to get to know the principal from what’s known as our rivalry school and I am interested in any changes that will be made under his authority,” she said. 

Scheuber also explained that a change could be refreshing. 

“It might be a good three month change and I am excited to see what he will do to be involved.”