Saturday, August 8, 2020
A drive by staff parade earlier this year. A cake before her final school board meeting Monday night. Cindy Zahrte was recognized for her contributions to the Tomah school district as educator and administrator. Herald photo Bob Kliebenstein

Tomah School Board bids farewell to Zahrte

On Monday night retiring Tomah Superintendent Cindy Zahrte was able to have her cake and eat it to.

But she shared with those at the Tomah School Board meeting

Zahrte presided over her final board meeting before she retires the end of this month. Zahrte served as superintendent 10 years replacing Bob Fasbender.

After the recognition board members, Zahrte's family and Tomah administration staff took a brief cake break before tackling a full June agenda. Zahrte thanked all district staff she worked with over her career that spanned more than 35 years. Many staff she recognized that was as much family during that career as her husband Tim and son Lane, both in attendance.

Zarhte extended thanks to husband and son for their support over the course of her career to balance duties as educator, wife and mother.

"This has never been about one person," Zahrte said. "It is about the team you have around you. I always tried to create a work atmosphere where people can succeed.

Business manager Greg Gaarder cited two qualities Zahrte brought to the district office during her tenure.

"Her leadership was always consistent and you knew you always had her support. We might not always have agreed on things, but you always had support."

Like other retiring Tomah staff, their final year was cut short due to COVID-19 An unfortunate event, but one that kept Zahrte engaged up to her final day. The agenda featured several important COVID related issues key to the start of the upcoming school year

But still..."Cindy missed out on the capstone of her career with how the school year ended," Gaarder said. "We had a lot on our plate."

Board members Pam Buchda and Gary Grovesteen were on the committee that hired Zahrte as superintendent, moving up from her duties as Tomah Middle School principal.

"You exceeded our expectations," Buchda said. "You had a vision. It was hard coming to the meeting tonight knowing it would be your last."

Buchda recalls each of three final candidates along with Zahrte had pros and cons. Something stood out for Zahrte.

"Cindy provided ideas for curriculum and she was enthused with her ideas," Buchda said.

Said Grovesteen, "Cindy has always been team oriented. We made some mistakes, but that is common. (The hiring committee) all new Cindy was the one. We were solid with our choice."

Mike Hanson begins his duties as superintendent July 1.

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