New Jefferson Middle School (Madison) principal Sue Abplanalp ‘not afraid of change’

Pamela Cotant:

When Sue Abplanalp took over as principal at Schenk Elementary School three years ago, she figured it wasn’t her last stop.

“I said I’m probably good for one more school after Schenk,” said Abplanalp, recalling her conversation with then-Superintendent Jennifer Cheatham.

Abplanalp will become principal at Jefferson Middle School on July 1. She will take over from interim principal Mary Kelley, who became the school’s fifth leader in six school years when Tequila Kurth left mid-year. Concerns at the school have included school safety as well as timely communication with parents, staffing and the overall culture.

In December, two 13-year-old boys from Jefferson were arrested, one for shooting a BB gun out of a bus window and the other for bringing the BB gun inside the school the next day. Two girls, ages 13 and 14, were struck by BBs as they were getting off the bus. And in January, a Jefferson student suffered a concussion and was taken to a hospital after being punched by a classmate he said had been bullying him.

Abplanalp, who turned 62 on May 16, is up for the challenge. She said she loves being building principal and starts to get restless after some time in the same place.

“I am not afraid of change,” she said. “I guess that sums me up.”

Experience is a big reason she was hired at Jefferson.

Much more on Madison’s Jefferson Middle School, here.