JEFFERSON — Nicole Krause always knew she wanted to be an educator, a dream cemented in early years when she saw the difference her own teachers were making in her life and others’.
“I have loved learning since my first day in kindergarten,” Krause said. “I wanted to pass that on.”
Now, as a brand-new principal, Krause will be able to extend her reach as she sets the climate for an entire school.
Krause started last week as Sullivan Elementary School principal. She most recently taught at the Kettle Moraine schools, but she began her career at Sullivan and loves the school and School District of Jefferson.
Originally from Cambridge, Krause moved around as a child, graduating from high school in Michigan. Then, 14 years ago, she returned to Jefferson County, settling in Helenville, where she has lived since.
Krause and her husband, Toby, have three children: Lindsey, 16; Colton, 13; and Colby, 9. They attend Jefferson High School, Jefferson Middle School and Sullivan Elementary School, respectively.
Krause started her own post-secondary education at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, where she majored in elementary education. Later, she completed an Extension program through the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, receiving her master’s degree in professional development.
Then she went on to achieve a master’s degree in educational leadership through Marion University in Fond du Lac.
Krause said she loves working with children and seeing that excitement that comes with learning a new concept or developing a skill.
She mainly has worked with the younger grades. Starting her teaching career at Sullivan in 1999, she taught first grade for eight years and then a multiage first/second-grade classroom for another eight years.
She moved to the Kettle Moraine district in 2015, where she taught second grade for three years and then a multi-age first/second-grade classroom for a year.
She said she was honored to be hired for her first teaching job by Dan Wenkman, former principal at Sullivan, who fostered a warm and welcoming atmosphere at the school.
Krause later worked under successive principals John Orcutt and Kathy Volk, but she never worked under outgoing Sullivan principal Nick Skretta, whose role she is taking as he moves on to serve as Jefferson Middle School principal.
Over the years, Krause has also taught summer school on and off (taking a break when her own children were young). She mainly taught “Ready, Set, Go” skill-building classes to primary students and subbed for other teachers.
This summer saw her back with the summer school program. Now that summer classes have wrapped up, she’ll be spending the month of August preparing for the new school year.
“I am really looking forward to reconnecting with the Sullivan staff and families and building on the wonderful program the school already has,” Krause said.
Planning is in full swing for several upcoming events at Sullivan, starting with the school open house at the end of August, the Sullivan Stampede fundraiser Sept. 20, and more.
“Nick Skretta and the staff at Sullivan have implemented some really great things at the school, and I hope to continue and build on them,” Krause said.
“I look forward to having a hand in the professional development of staff and in helping to foster that welcoming atmosphere Sullivan has always had,” she added. “Returning to Sullivan feels like coming home.”
Krause said she is humbled by the outreach and support she has already received since she was announced as the new Sullivan principal.
“It’s been amazing,” she said.
Outside of school, Krause is active with the Jefferson Optimist Club.
In her free time, she loves to read and play volleyball, and of course, she treasures time spent with family. As her children have grown, that has provided many opportunities to get involved with different organizations in the community.
As such, Krause has had a hand in coaching and supporting youth sports and volunteering serving concessions.
“We have always been really happy with the Jefferson schools, and I am excited to be able to serve the district in this new role,” Krause said.