Returning to the Three Lakes School District has been surreal, according to Teri Maney, who graduated from Three Lakes High School in 1981 and now is the new district administrator.

“I still remember getting off of the bus at Three Lakes Junior High the first day and being overwhelmed by how big it was and all the newness of the experience,” reminisced Maney. “It was excitement and joy, with a little nervousness mixed in.” 

Maney said that feeling returned in late August of this year.

“I had that same feeling (Aug. 26) when coming in to our scheduled in-service day,” said Maney last week as the 2019-’20 school year got under way. “My goal as a student, as well as now, is to work to the best of my ability.”

Maney was named district administrator at Three Lakes last February following the announced retirement of George Karling, who served as district administrator at Three Lakes for more than three decades. 

“I want to thank the board of education for allowing me to be their district administrator for the School District of Three Lakes,” she said.

Even though she has been district administrator for just a little over two months, Maney said she is impressed by the school district in many ways, including both current happenings and events from the past.

“First, it is a beautifully maintained school district. The upkeep and cleanliness speaks to the pride of everyone who walks through these doors. Our custodial staff do a great job. Viewing the walls and the halls speaks volumes to the tradition that is honored,” said Maney. “New student  artwork is displayed and athletic/activities are recognized and setting new milestones.”

Maney said the welcoming nature is present in the district.

“Students and teachers greet each other; caring about one another is evident. Just this morning (of the interview), one of our students held the door open for me. This continued as students and staff entered.  It’s a simple act of kindness, but it demonstrates the citizenship of our students and the culture in which they have been taught. I feel their sense of pride and belonging,” said Maney.

Returning home

For Maney, the road back to Three Lakes has included stops in Florida, Fond du Lac, La Crosse and Rhinelander.

Maney graduated from Three Lakes High School in 1981 and attended the University of South Florida in Sarasota/Tampa, earning a bachelor of science degree in education.

“My masters program was through Marian University in Fond du Lac with an emphasis on educational leadership, licensing as a principal and director of instruction. I took additional coursework at Bethel University in preparation for the superintendent program,” said Maney. “I joined and graduated from the Viterbo University educational leadership program  as a licensed district administrator.”

During the past 20 years, Maney has been a teacher, associate principal, principal and director of instruction with the Rhinelander School District.

Now that she is at Three Lakes, Maney knows she has big shoes to fill following Karling who lead the district for more than 30 years.

“That is a legacy and time frame that will stand for perhaps the history of our district. It would be unwise for me to try to come in and try to do things just as he did. It would also make no sense to change all that has been put into place. His expertise and experience were cultivated through years of relationship building and work with his staff and community,” said Maney.

“My desire is to learn from what has been done so very well in this district and explore areas where we may find attention is needed,” said Maney. “My goal is to continue growing ourselves as a destination school district while making sure our current students have every opportunity to prepare for their desired future.”

Prioritize projects

As for her first school year, Maney said she plans on getting to know all the parties in the district — including staff and the community — and prioritize projects.

“There are already several projects that we will be working on, including the development of the school forest parcel on Highway A,” said Maney. “My intention is to get to know the citizens as well as the staff and students of our district. There are many stakeholders with multiple perspectives. This is what makes working with community so interesting. I believe we are stronger when sharing, listening and developing plans together.”

She also plans to be involved in the community.

“I already am to some degree as I have lived in Sugar Camp for many years.  This new position allows me to get to know and work with other groups that I may not have crossed paths with in my previous roles,” said Maney.

“Several individuals and groups have already invited me to ‘getting to know you’ events and I welcome these meetings,” she said. “I am always willing to listen, but I also like to see a plan of action result from hard work. My hope is that I can be one of several participants looking to strengthen our school and community.”

Beyond school 

When the school day is done, Maney said she likes to keep busy with several hobbies, spending time with family and taking care of her pets. 

“Hobbies — I have several, but none are very glamorous!” she laughed. “I love to pick berries and preserve them as sauces or jam. I also love to fish, not saying I am very successful, but always find time to cast a line with the hope of finding a potential monster hooked on my bait. I like to build things and have way too many tools, if that is possible.”

Maney’s husband, Bryan Young, just retired from teaching 4-year-old kindergarten with the Rhinelander School District. They have three adult children, Cristin Cline Opall, who graduated from Three Lakes in 2007; Wil Young, who graduated in 2010; and Shannon Cline, who graduated in 2012.

“Cristin and her husband, Ryan, have a daughter, Lyla Rose, who is now 5 months old. We all adore her! Wil is living in Colorado Springs and works for ComCast. He still is making his music! Shannon and her fiance, Cody, are getting married Sept. 21. His son, Marcus, is 5 years old and will be joining our family as our new grandson,” said Maney.

Maney also has two dogs, Teddy and Cleo, two cats, Bailey and Char-Lee.

“I tend to take in strays. It makes for crazy fun!” said Maney.

Despite that busy schedule, Maney said she is ready to lead the Three Lakes School District — a place she can again call home.

“I look forward to working with our district for many years to come,” she said.