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Unified School District of De Pere welcomes new superintendent

Christopher Thompson takes over for Benjamin Villarruel
Posted at 9:26 PM, Jul 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-12 07:28:15-04

DE PERE — After leading the unified school district of De Pere for 21 years, Benjamin Villarruel retired at the end of June paving the way for a new superintendent

Christopher Thompson stepped into the role at the beginning of July. Thompson comes from the Rosholt school district in Portage county where he held the superintendent role since March 2019.

Before becoming a superintendent, Thompson was the executive director of curriculum and instruction in the Racine school district.

Thompson says that in an era of renewed focus on schools, he welcomes the increased scrutiny.

"I've constantly talked about what I believe in, and I'm really big about communication. To me that's really important because when you're communicating, communicating is not a one way dialogue it's both ways," said Thompson.

"I want to hear what others are thinking, and then I want to be able to show them that, yes, this is what we're doing, but what thoughts do you have? We listen to those thoughts. It helps us be critical ourselves of it," said Thompson.

Safety is also top of mind after the Uvalde school shooting. Locally, the town of Kiel dealt with threats to the school district about a title IX investigation. Thompson says he'd handle any investigation with transparency.

"It's really about communication, hearing what their concerns are and then making the responses in the timelines that have been set forth the U.S. government," said Thompson.

Thompson said he enjoyed his time in De Pere where he attended St. Norbert's as an undergraduate before attending University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Edgewood College. He's excited to be back in the area to lead one of the state's premier school districts.

"This is where I want to be. This is where I want to stay with my family, my wife and I are just so happy to be here," said Thompson.

Thompson said that while there are no current referendums, he is talking with the school board about future referendum ideas that could be coming down the road.