The principal equation

Commitment to kids will help East's new leader navigate coming changes

Sept. 15, 2010

Though the view from his office is a bit different than it was last year, Dan Pavletich's goal for Brookfield East High School remains the same: to improve student achievement by offering professional development for staff and encouraging best teaching practices in the classroom.

After serving as associate principal at Brookfield East for the past three years, Pavletich moved into the role of principal this year.

"I'm proud to say we got off the ground in good shape this fall," the former math teacher said. "We just finished our big renovation project, during which every square foot of the building was touched. Brookfield East looks like a brand new school this year."

Finding his way here

Pavletich, 41, spent much of his childhood traveling around the country as the son of a professional baseball player. His family settled in West Allis when his father, Don Pavletich, was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers. Don Pavletich never got to play for the Brewers because he was injured during spring training, but the family stayed in West Allis and Dan graduated from West Allis High School.

He earned his bachelor's degree at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. He hadn't intended on becoming a math teacher, he said, but discovered he loved working with kids.

"That was my passion," he said.

He taught and coached at Northwestern Academy in Lake Geneva and Pius XI High School in Milwaukee before coming to Brookfield East in 1996. He met his wife, Michelle, a math teacher at Pilgrim Park Middle School, at a district math department meeting.

"You usually don't get a lot of romance at a district math meeting, but that's where we found each other," he joked.

Looking to the future

One of Pavletich's biggest strengths as an administrator, he said, is his ability to build support for change. That will be especially important as Brookfield East moves toward block scheduling in the 2011-12 school year, he said.

Pavletich also feels he will do well at communicating Elmbrook's vision to taxpayers.

"That's an important leadership piece," he said, "to know where we're at and where we're going."

One of his goals as Brookfield East principal is to continue to improve the high school's Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) program. The national program helps students in the "academic middle" find the tools to be successful and prepared for college.

"It's a collection of best practices in teaching," he said. "We use it as a resource for our teaching staff to ensure they have support in their individual subjects and teaching styles."

Keeping kids in mind

While Pavletich enjoys working on big picture goals as an administrator, he misses teaching and coaching - he previously coached baseball, track and golf.

"I supervise the lunchroom every day, and I still like helping some of the kids with their math homework," he said.

When he is not at Brookfield East, Pavletich is busy in his job as "Dad" in his Germantown home. He and Michelle have three children, ages 3, 6 and 8.

"We love doing outdoor activities as a family," he said. "We like boating, hiking and watching baseball."

Dan Pavletich

AGE: 41

JOB: Principal, Brookfield East High School

BACKGROUND: Has taught at Northwestern Academy in Lake Geneva, Pius XI High School and Brookfield East

FAMILY: Wife, Michelle, three children

HOMETOWN: Germantown


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