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Villarruel retiring from De Pere in June 2022

DE PERE – The De Pere school board approved the notice of retirement provided by Superintendent Ben Villarruel, effective June 2022, during a special board meeting Monday, Dec. 7.

“We are deeply grateful for his service over 20 years with the district, and the timeframe he has provided for his transition,” said David Youngquist, board president. “Continuing in his role through the next school year allows us to conduct a thorough recruiting, hiring and on-boarding process for a new superintendent without interruption to our day-to-day operations. During his 20-year tenure with the district, Ben has exemplified strong educational leadership, and sincere care for our students, families, district employees and the broader De Pere community.”

Youngquist said under Villarruel’s guidance, the district has consistently exceeded or significantly exceeded academic expectations set by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction and other local, state and national organizations.

Villarruel has overseen the formation and continuous refinement of grades 4K-12 curriculum with an emphasis on post-graduation success for all learners including 19 Advanced Placement classes; 23 early college/technical education credit classes; and the cooperative Trades Career Academy.

“Consistent with his philosophy of educating the whole student, Ben has worked closely with local leaders and our staff to implement community-wide mental health and wellness programs focused on youth,” Youngquist said. “He has been an ardent supporter of De Pere co-curriculars including theater, music, athletics, clubs and service organizations at all grade levels. The district’s ability to attract, retain and develop an outstanding staff is a direct result of his collaborative leadership style.”

Villarruel has led the development and implementation of long-range plans for technology, communications and facility investments to support the De Pere school district.

In 2015, he oversaw the passage of a $7.1 million referendum and more recently led fundraising efforts to support redevelopment of the aging high school stadium complex.

“His foresight will leave us well-positioned to manage future budget challenges and enrollment growth based on the strong financial foundation he has helped build,” said Youngquist.

In retirement, Villarruel plans to spend time with his wife Clare and two adult daughters, while continuing his bicycle travels.

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