Waukau announces retirement from MISD

Superintendent has led school district for over 20 years

After serving the Menominee Indian School District (MISD) for 34 years, Superintendent Wendell Waukau has announced he’ll retire on June 20.

Starting as a teacher with the district, Waukau has also been a coach, athletic director, dean of students and principal before becoming superintendent in 2003.

“It’s been a privilege and an honor to work in the district and community I grew up in, working with outstanding teachers, staff, board and community members, parents and students,” said Waukau. “During my tenure as superintendent, we’ve implemented a number of reforms and changes to address the academic and social/emotional challenges and needs that our students face. Some of these successful reforms have received state and national recognition and are still being sustained today. It’s something we should be proud of as a district and community.”

Menominee Indian School Board President David Miller noted that Waukau was always focused on doing what’s right for students.

“That is his driving motivator,” said Miller. “He wants our students to learn, grow and succeed not just in school, but in the community as well. He has forged valuable relationships and collaborations that have resulted in additional opportunities for students such as college credit classes, expanded extracurricular sports and health/wellness initiatives including in-school dental and medical care.”

Miller also praised Waukau’s dedication to improving and incorporating Menominee language, culture and traditions in district schools.

“As a Menominee, he knows how important that is to preserve who we are and ensure future generations embrace our ways, as well,” Miller said. “You can walk into any of our schools, and you’ll immediately know they are a Menominee Indian public school. Our students are proud of who they are.”

Also during Waukau’s tenure, two school referendums received voter approval. The most recent, in spring 2023, paved the way for the building of a new Menominee Indian High School which will open this fall.

“This job has been very rewarding and very challenging,” Waukau said. “I sacrificed time with my family to get the job done, so I owe my wife and three children a ton of gratitude for their support and understanding. I look forward to spending more time with them when I retire.”

Waukau will be recognized on April 24 at the Wisconsin Association of School Districts’ annual educational conference at the KI Convention Center in Green Bay for his 20 years of service as superintendent and his upcoming retirement.