Assistant principal promoted to top spot at Brown Deer High School

Womack takes over for recently departed Piatt

Aug. 7, 2013

Brown Deer — Tosha Womack, a three-year assistant principal at Brown Deer High School, has been selected to take over as principal after nine-year principal Jim Piatt stepped down.

Piatt, whose resignation was accepted by the School Board recently, will become the president of Milwaukee-based Messmer Catholic Schools. Womack's promotion to the high school's top spot was accepted by the School Board last week. On Monday, the board hired Charles Tollefsen, most recently a middle school associate principal at the Delavan-Darien School District, to fill the assistant principal vacancy resulting from Womack's promotion.



"(Womack) has definitely exhibited the leadership qualities we're looking for as we continue to narrow the achievement gap," Superintendent Deb Kerr said in a later interview.

Kerr pointed to Womack's involvement in creating the Brown Deer Way — a set of character-building guidelines for students — and work bringing the English curriculum in line with national guidelines as reasons for her promotion.

"She's really proven herself as an instructional leader," Kerr said.

Womack takes over Piatt's spot with a starting salary of $104,000, according to the employment contract approved by the board. Tollefsen takes over Womack's former post at a starting salary of $75,000, according to a contract approved by the board Monday.

Womack graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in 1995 with a bachelor's degree in education and later earned a master's in educational leadership from National Louis University in 2004. She has worked as a special education teacher, assistant principal, and a school improvement facilitator in various places throughout the Milwaukee Public Schools system prior to coming to Brown Deer in 2010.

In an interview, Womack said her time as an improvement specialist in MPS played a big part in creating her focus on character education and eventually the Brown Deer Way.

"I'm a believer in that whole approach," Womack said.

Reins in hand, Womack said her game plan is to increase the availability of gifted and talented programming — now made easier with middle school students in the same building as more advanced high school students and classes — and to do a better job communicating with district parents and residents.

"We can take those students now and we can screen to see if they should be in advanced level classes," Womack said of the gifted and talented program, and of communicating more, "I think we've been a little low key in the past, but I think it's time we shared some of our greatness, to celebrate our accomplishments."

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