Superintendent to retire at end of the month

By Cathy Kozlowicz


After spending more than 30 years in the Waterford Union High School District, Superintendent Keith Brandstetter can state his educational philosophy in one word – academics.

This is the legacy and the area he is most proud of as he completes his last month on the job. A science teacher in the district for 10 years before becoming superintendent in 1999, he said the school is primarily about academics.

Waterford High School Superintendent Keith Brandstetter speaks at the school’s graduation ceremony earlier this month. He will retire this week. (Photo by Chad Hensiak)

“Over the years, we produced an academic focus that our students have. Kids in the school understand that learning takes place now (when in school). We are here for academics,” Brandstetter emphasized.

He said that he and the staff helped the students prepare for their careers even before the state placed its emphasis on academic and career planning.

“I think we did a good job of preparing them for their next step in life. Our job is to prepare them to be successful and responsible,” he added.

Brandstetter also said the district was well rounded by making improvements in its music and art program, agriculture education and technology.

And he is quick to boast that the high school students scored above the state average on the ACT, that Waterford Union High School was the conference academic champion for nine years in a row and the academic bowl champions for nine consecutive years.

“We were state runner-up for four sports. We really improved our arts, band and choir programs, with the creation of the auditorium and gallery,” he said. We made our programs successful.”

Through his time, two referendums passed, one for maintenance and the other for facilities.

40 years of education

Brandstetter spent more than 40 years in education.

After growing up in Milwaukee, he came to Waterford in 1978 to teach high school science. He then taught science and coached the boys’ varsity basketball team at Mukwonago High School for nine years. He returned to Waterford to become an assistant principal in 1993 until he was hired as the superintendent.

He also coached while he taught at Waterford with his sports including cross country, boys basketball and softball.

He said he originally was a science major at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, but really liked coaching and teaching that he decided to pursue science education instead of having a science degree. He worked at a lot of basketball camps in college and in his younger teaching days, he said.

“It is bittersweet,” he said of his retirement. He and his wife, Lou Ann, plan to move to Door County in their retirement. They bought a retirement home there about five years ago.

“It is relaxing there,” he said.

Brandstetter said that he will most likely occupy his time with volunteering and hobbies, but he said he does not know what in particular he will do.

“Work has always been my hobby,” he said.

“I really enjoyed it here. It (Waterford) has been a great, great community,” he said.

Brandstetter will be succeeded by Luke Francois, who was a former Waterford High School math teacher and coach from 1994 to 1999.

Francois is currently the executive director of business services for the Sauk Prairie School District and for seven years prior he was superintendent and business manager of Mineral Point Schools.

Francois will begin his tenure as superintendent July 1.