Member Spotlight: Bart Wegenke

Chelsey Martinez's picture

We want to share good news about education! MASSP is turning the spotlight on members who are making an impact in their school, district and community. Spotlighted members exemplify the mission of the MASSP: To advance learning through educational leadership.

Bart Wegenke, Principal, Haslett High School

How long have you worked in education?
30 years

How long have you been an administrator?
18 years

Give us a few personal details.
When I'm not at a school meeting or event, one of my hobbies is that I am a Division 1 Men's Basketball official (19 years). I have been a basketball official for 35 years. Other hobbies include: reading, yard work, family time and golfing

What do you find most challenging about your job?
I find making an effort everyday to visit all of our classrooms, be in the hallways each class change, be in the lunchroom and at the bus/student parking lots for 180 school days a challenge. But if I "expect" students to be to class on time, a school where students conduct themselves appropriately at all times, bell-to-bell instruction, high levels of student engagement, teachers exhibiting the best pedagogical practices, etc. then I must "inspect" it by making myself visible and accessible.

What is most rewarding about your job?
Student and staff success. Our mantra is ALL students can and will be successful! Our proof is in our graduation rate data (98-99%). Our staff has a daily commitment to teaching and learning. As a result ALL of our students do find success in a "student-centered" environment. Also our sustained work with RtI/MtSS, PBIS, Explicit Instruction and Reading Apprenticeship has been very rewarding. Students now have more voice supported by outstanding teams of staff leaders.

Tell us about a program/initiative at your school that you are proud of.
We have many programs at Haslett High School we are proud of which make a difference with individual and groups of students. The Check-and-Connect program is an initiative we implemented 8 years ago which provides a daily teacher mentor for many of our Tier 2 and 3 general education students.

What advice would you have for those who are new to the Principalship?
1. Remember you are in charge of everything.
2. Bottom Line: Student achievement always matters most.
3. Always remember to be intellectually curious and a lead learner.
4. Sometimes the toughest decisions are the right decisions.
5. Build your "Leadership Bench."
6. Make the most of every hour of every day. By doing so, you will leave your school a better place and your legacy will speak for itself.....enjoy the ride!

What is something you are working on or hoping to implement in the near future?
We are currently working on a Virtual High School and the Be.Nice initiative for Haslett High School. Both programs will be important to our on-going student success and a healthy/safe school environment.

Tell us about a training or book you've read recently that you found to be beneficial.
Dream Differently: Candid Advice for America's Students by Dr. Vince M. Bertram and The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown. I recently read both books again to continue to challenge students and staff to "Reach Higher." There are many takeaways from each book, but for me: challenge yourself each day, the importance of persistence/perseverance, always moving in a direction where all of your arrows are aligned and the challenge and success you will find is always in the process of learning.

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Questions? Please contact Chelsey Martinez at