The School District of Rhinelander Board of Education has chosen Kelli Jacobi as the district’s new superintendent, ending a search that began after current superintendent Roger Erdahl announced his coming retirement. Jacobi will begin her new job July 1.
Although she will be stepping into a new role, Jacobi is no stranger to the district. For the last 22 years, she has served the school district as a teacher at West School and NCES, then as principal at NCES, and most recently as the curriculum and instruction director.
“I’ve been in education for 32 years,” said Jacobi, who is originally from Iowa. “I love working with children. I love being in the classrooms and the schools.” Years ago, she didn’t imagine that she would one day become a school superintendent. “I wasn’t looking at that as an end goal,” she said. But she enjoyed knowing she was making a difference in the lives of students. Now, as she prepares to assume her new position as school superintendent, she’s aware that she will be able to affect students on an even broader scale.
Jacobi is preparing to move into the superintendent’s office at a time when schools face numerous challenges. The school district recently faced the threat of cuts in staff, electives, athletics and activities, as well as the closing of the district’s charter schools. But with passage of the school referendum last month, Jacobi feels that voters validated the school district’s efforts.
“We had such wonderful community support with the referendum,” she said. “I want to carry through with that.” Keeping the community’s trust and support, she noted, is a goal on which she and others involved with the school district will continue to work. “We need to continue working on communication, internal and external, to continue working on a positive culture.” The school district, she noted, has several initiatives designed to enrich students’ learning and better prepare them for the workforce, and work on those initiatives will continue. “Our goal is to keep that moving forward,” Jacobi said. “We want all children to be moving forward.”