The Altoona school district has filled principal openings at the middle and high schools starting July 1.

Of the seven candidates who interviewed for both positions, the district selected Steve Buss to lead the middle school and Jim Reif the high school.

“They each bring a unique quality to the district that’s a need,” incoming Altoona schools Superintendent Dan Peggs said. “From the administrative team’s perspective, we’re looking to hire someone who’s not just like us, you know, someone who adds a different perspective to the district. We found that here.”

Buss will enter the district with nearly 16 years of administrative experience, having spent the past nine years as principal at Tomah Middle School. He also served as an assistant principal, was a physical education teacher and is a veteran. Buss has a bachelor’s degree from UW-La Crosse and a master’s degree from Cardinal Stritch University.

“I’m very humbled to be selected and offered this opportunity and eagerly await working with everyone,” Buss said in a news release. “It’s been great already as we’ve received welcoming emails from staff. My wife and I are excited to move to the area and become a part of not only school, but the community.”

In the release, Peggs said he and the interview team were impressed with Buss’ work ethic, disposition, communication style and proven track record of improving the schools he has worked with.

“Mr. Buss is a community-oriented professional who is not afraid to ‘get in the trenches’ with staff and students,” Peggs said.

Reif will join the district with nearly five years of administrative experience, having led Menominee Indian High School in Keshena for the last three years. Before that, Reif was an associate principal at Baraboo High School and was a high school math and science teacher for 18 years. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Michigan Technological University and two master’s degrees from National Louis University and the University of Texas-Arlington.

“I am excited to join the dedicated Altoona staff and build upon the Railroader tradition of excellence by ‘Engaging, equipping and empowering’ our students and staff,” Reif said in the release. “I look forward to becoming a member of the Altoona community that supports our children’s education.”

Peggs said in the release that Reif impressed district administration with his ability to connect with all stakeholders, including students, as well as his proven track record.

“It was evident that he has been successful in creating a positive school culture and increasing student achievement in his former positions,” Peggs said.

Chad Hanson, head football coach of Eleva-Strum, will also join the district as dean of students and head football coach starting July 1.

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