Wauwatosa East and West Student News

The Tosa Compass

Wauwatosa East and West Student News

The Tosa Compass

Wauwatosa East and West Student News

The Tosa Compass

East’s New Principal: Dr. Plank


A new era has officially begun at Tosa East; saying goodbye to Mr. Hughes and hello to Dr. Plank. Now, he has to get used to all the quirks and trends of Tosa East. During the interview with Dr. Plank, he mentioned the word “inclusivity” and how it was one of the first things he noticed about East’s diverse community. He shared his views and goals of how he wants to make East feel like a home to all. However the real question is: Will Dr. Plank ever replace the beloved Mr. Hughes? Many are skeptical, but from this interview it seems, Dr. Plank is ready to take on that challenge.

How long have you been a principal? 

This year is my 29th year of working in education, 25 of those years have been as an administrator, and specifically as a principal for 14 years. I was working in a district office as a curriculum leader and some of that time as a superintendent. I grew up in the Milwaukee area, but this is my first time ever working in it.


Why did you choose to go into this career?

Well, I started as a band director and that decision was because I loved music. Initially, I was looking into other careers, even mechanical engineering. But by the time I left high school, I just loved music and I wanted to be around it. At the time, I really was a performer, but figured to get an education degree and by then I fell in love with all the elements around learning about all the instruments. Working with other people and teaching young learners, it just became a thing. It was my love of music that brought me to education.


What is the most memorable thing you’ve experienced while being a principal?

It’s interesting because it is so fresh in my mind right now. I am going to travel with the orchestra and I think the act of doing that has me really thinking about all of these times I’ve traveled with school groups. That is such a prominent memory for me; I’ve traveled to France, Austria, and Germany. I mainly went on these trips for my own education or for the performing arts. Those moments just really create these finite memories.


So far, what is your favorite thing about East?

I think the word I would use is inclusive, and most of that I would direct to the students and faculty. It’s also the community’s values. It is very refreshing to be in a space where it’s inclusive; everybody is good with that and it is not up for debate. People can dress how they want to dress, love who they want to love, and speak the language that is most comfortable. That is what is really special about East.


What are your biggest goals for for East to accomplish?

The big goal is to ensure two things; one, being that students can really view school as their own space. I want East to be a space where they will view their alma mater in a positive light. There’s this sense of, how do we create that? Is it through clubs and activities? Is it through the way that we interface just day in and day out? 


The other goal is to prepare students for whatever comes next. I think we do a pretty good job of that, so it is not like we’re missing a target. I just shared on my podcast to parents that US News and World Report ranked East as 18th best high school in Wisconsin. We’re pretty consistent, but I do think we could be even better. I think that there are some subtle things that we can change within the organization that would ultimately allow people to open more doors of opportunity. 


What are some of your passions/hobbies?

I love bicycling, motorcycles, and love music. Well as a musician, I am a saxophone player. I love being on two wheels; I’ve always wanted a motorcycle. I just love the outdoors, and it’s not like a hunting or fishing kind of thing. I like hiking and camping. People always ask, well do you love the ocean or the mountains? I would always choose the mountains. 


If you won the lottery, what would be the first thing you’d do?

I think I would sit down and try to make a plan. I know that probably isn’t the nature of the question, but I would want to think openly about what to do. I also think I would answer the way a lot of people would such as I’d want to help my parents and siblings. At the moment, I sit on the Wisconsin School of Music Association board and so I would want to make a pretty sizable donation to the Music Association for the state. Then somewhere in there, if I am being selfish and honest, I would buy a small camper and take a really long camping journey to the national parks. 


If you were an animal, what would you be and why?

I think I’d be a cougar. They’re fast, big, and a little scary looking, but I think they can be gentle giants, too. They also care for their family, so I’m going to go with that.

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