Stephen Plank has been the superintendent for the Burlington Area School District since July 1. (Photo by Jason Arndt)

Plank replaces long-time BASD superintendent Smet

By Jason Arndt


Stephen Plank’s eagerness to begin his tenure as superintendent at Burlington Area School District showed well before he officially started on July 1.

Plank, named to the leadership post on April 18, spent time learning more about the district, its staff, schools and community in the two months leading up to his first day.

“Once I knew I was coming here, I was able to come in and meet with people and have conversations with staff at the district office and all of the building principals,” Plank said, adding he toured the schools and met with students.

“The kids were still here and that helped with the transition as well.”

Plank, however, said it would not have been possible without the support of Middleton High School, where he served as principal for five years before accepting the BASD position.

For two months, he took anywhere between six to eight days off, in order to learn more.

“Middleton was kind enough to let me use vacation time to come here to Burlington,” he said.

Plank, who replaces Peter Smet, who retired at the end of June, credited his predecessor for being a valuable resource and showing the willingness to help bridge the gap.

“He spent a lot of time with me and was willing to take time to make sure my questions were answered,” he said.

Meanwhile, since he took over, Plank has made immediate community connections beyond the school district itself.

In addition, he moved from the Madison-area to Burlington, living just blocks from the district office.

“It has been great, I am living here now,” he said.

“People have been incredibly friendly and patient with me as I have asked lots and lots of questions to get to know some of the history and some of the background.”

Decades of experience

Plank brings 23 years experience as an educator to Burlington. He began his career as a band director before moving into administrative positions that have, over the past 19 years, progressively increased his responsibilities.

Plank, whose interests include outdoor recreation and performing arts, earned a bachelor’s degree in Music Education from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.

He holds a master’s in educational leadership from UW-Milwaukee and doctorate in administration from Loyola University, Chicago.

To read the entire story see the Aug. 8 edition of the Burlington Standard Press.