May 11, 2010

Racine Unified announces new interim Area 1 superintendent

Racine Unified Superintendent Dr. Jim Shaw named current Gifford Elementary School Principal Steve Russo interim Area 1 Superintendent on Monday. Russo will replace Dona Sens who is retiring after 16 years with the District.

“Steve Russo’s record as a principal in a high performing school and his commitment to Racine Unified, make him an ideal candidate to serve in this interim position and help redesign the RUSD Administrative Service Center,” said Superintendent Shaw.

Russo has been with the District for more than 36 years. He began his career as a teacher at Franklin Elementary for two years years and then at Knapp Elementary for 24 years. He’s been at Gifford Elementary for 11 years, having started as a teacher and then served as an assistant principal. He’s been in his current role as Gifford principal for seven years.

“I’m eager to take on this new challenge,” said Russo. “Dona Sens has been a mentor and inspiration to me for some time. I know it will be difficult to fill her shoes, but I am motivated by this opportunity to serve the entire District.”

As Area 1 Superintendent, Russo will be responsible for the District’s Cluster 1 Schools which includes Case High School. In addition, he will assist the central office team in redesigning the work of central office administrators in supporting school improvement plans, principals, teacher data teams and the achievement of the North Star.


  1. Gifford will greatly miss Mr. Russo!!!

  2. Whoa, stop the presses. What did I just read? Area 1 Superintendent? Is this yet another middle management level, the cost of which the taxpayer has to fund? When did this start? And just how many "Areas" are there? Sheesh, when does this end? We need to cut back on cost not add more to it for heavens sakes.

    Throwing more people at a problem isn't a guarantee it is going to fix anything. Seems to me many problems are not with Unified but at home where parents aren't supporting their children's education.

    When I was in school they had the PTA to deal with those issues. Hmmm, wasn't that free?

  3. I would like to know how/why someone that is NOT LICENSED to be a Superintendent in this state can be hired by Unified for the position?

    Here is the State of Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction's searchable license database:

  4. Did he lie when he said he would use this opportunity to re-organize the central office?

  5. This accouncement has Dr. Shaw sounding a lot more like the Dr. Hicks we all used to know with his infamous backdoor deals for his cronies. And to think, Unified wonders why they have no trust or credibility with the Racine community?

  6. Out of what account is this position being paid for? Dustin? Pete? Where is this money coming from?

  7. I am not a proponent of RUSD, but some of you are knukleheads. These positions have been around for a while and the position being filled is due to a retirement so knuckleheads - the money is already budgeted for. Now do they need these positions? I can't say.

  8. When was this job posted? I have attended several of the past board meetings and there was no mention of a search for this position.

    Dustin: Did Unified provide any information as to when this appointment takes effect or if the prior post about the candidate not having the proper credentials is in fact true?

  9. There are 3 Area/Cluster Superintendents. It was the hope of many that these positions would be rethought in light of continued budget shortfalls. We have been told over and over that we are keeping cuts away from kids...and then things like this continue...
    Would love to know what these area superintendents really do each and every school day. Have heard that they deal with parent complaints - but wouldn't you think principals would be able to responsible for this...or maybe the actual superintendent...or his deputy superintendent...
    What are the chances that someone brought into this position will be able to make cuts to administration?

  10. Russo got along so well with the kiddies because his maturity level is the same as theirs. Good luck RUSD!

  11. We have a superintendent, a deputy superintendent, THREE cluster superintendents (yes, 3!) Add up those salaries.... Now let's talk about directors, central office supervisors and managers.

    Think about all that staffing and know that there is a document that just came out stating that the district has a 3.5 MILLION dollar deficit for the 2010 school year and a larger deficit for the following year due to funding costs from the state.

    We are funding 8000 new computers and spending like there is no tomorrow.

    Central office, or the ASC's solution is to cut teaching and assistant jobs to cover this. Do we really need these upper-level and mid-level high paying management jobs more than we need people in the schools to keep the student/staff ratio at the current levels? What makes more sense? More kids crammed into each classroom with less supervision or more useless management?

    Oh, let's move central office too. Read between those lines. There are NO savings in any proposed plans! Wake up Racine.