by Sarah Rose Werner, ’16


The Wisconsin Association of School District Administrators named Dr. Patricia Deklotz, ’01, ’13, the 2016 Wisconsin Superintendent of the Year.


“This recognition gives credit to the work that [the Kettle Moraine School District] is doing to innovate our educational learning environments,” Deklotz said.


Deklotz has spent the last decade as superintendent for the Kettle Moraine School District in Wales, Wisconsin. Under her leadership, the district has created a variety of learning settings for students. Deklotz maintains that it isn’t about the time a student spends in class; it’s about how engaged the student is in learning.


“We focus on personalizing our students’ learning,” Deklotz said. “Our schools need to produce graduates that know how to learn, unlearn and relearn according to the demands of their world. We are preparing them for their future, not our past. We want students to be active participants in developing their future.”


Before becoming a leader in education, Deklotz worked in financial software development and with nonprofit organizations.


“Working in the private sector gave me an awareness of the collaborative problem-solving approach that business teams execute to maintain a competitive edge,” Deklotz said.


In 1996, Deklotz became a teacher. She continued to advance her own education, earning two degrees from Cardinal Stritch University – a Master’s in Educational Leadership in 2001 and a Doctorate in Leadership in 2013.


“An individual’s core values and purpose are critical to their success in life,” Deklotz said. “Stritch walks the walk in its organizational values and purpose.”


She also credits the University’s flexible program delivery formats for inspiring some of her signature work as superintendent.


 “I’m very appreciative of the flexible structures that Stritch created in its learning programs,” Deklotz said. “That helped give me confidence that we could bring flexible structures into a K-12 learning environment.”



Deklotz accepted the 2016 Wisconsin Superintendent of the Year award in January. She has no plans, however, to rest on her laurels. Deklotz will continue to set high expectations for the district and boldly pursue opportunities for all of her students.


“I believe the learner is respected for the individual strengths and areas of growth that they bring to the situation -- they work harder, are more engaged, and they’re very self-reflective,” Deklotz said. “When you become a reflective learner, the sky is the limit in the quest for knowledge.”


Deklotz’s award comes just three years after alumna and Stritch instructor Dr. JoAnn Sternke, ’88, ’11, received the same honor. Sternke participated in Stritch’s mission campaign and also appeared in a 2013 Desk Job feature in Stritch Magazine.