Chris Otto serves as acting principal in Bach’s absence

Chris Otto has been instated as acting Principal for the eight weeks of Bachs leave. She brings over 28 years of experience as a counselor and administrator.
Chris Otto has been instated as acting Principal for the eight weeks of Bach’s leave. She brings over 28 years of experience as a counselor and administrator.
Photo By Adelaide Bielke

On Feb. 5, Chris Otto started her time as acting principal being the temporary replacement for Principal Rob Bach, who underwent knee surgery. Bach is out for eight weeks recovering from a knee replacement and Chris Otto is here to be his temporary replacement.

Otto was chosen for her 28 years of experience in the district, serving many roles. She brings a variety of experiences as a teacher, counselor and Assistant Principal. Last year, she declared her retirement but came out of it for the eight weeks of Bach’s absence.

Otto brings a wealth of experience from throughout the district. She started out as a business teacher at a high school in Wisconsin, worked for corporate sales, then retrained and got her master’s degree in counseling. For 25 years, she was a high school counselor and then pivoted to administration and one semester-long as building principal at Stillwater Middle School for about eight years before she retired.

 “The other part that really helps me be able to work in this role is that I’ve worked in this building before. I worked for several years as an assistant principal in this building, and previous to that as a counselor, so I know a lot of the people. I know the system, I know how the building works, I know our schedule,” Otto said.

Otto brings more of a collaborative approach from her years as a counselor. She focuses on the students and how she can problem-solve through adaptability. 

She hears you and she reflects on it and then she may ask clarifying questions. But she really takes that into account because everybody’s perspective is important.”

— Stephanie Nord

In addition to the day-to-day duties of a high school principal running a school, Otto intends to continue to support the initiatives Bach has set in motion. Specifically, she is working to make the new schedule recommendation that they will give to the school board to vote, based on all of the student, parent and faculty feedback that has been gathered throughout the past few months.

With all of the work that Bach and the leadership team have been working on, Otto said that she is “trying to support the effort to wrap that work up into a recommendation.”

When creating this recommendation for the school board, she knows that finding a way to relieve stress has a positive effect on the mental health of everyone at school. It is important that the alternative bell schedules cater to the needs of students both academically and mentally.

“I think that it’s not just students that are stressed, I think the staff is stressed. And I think that finding ways to help relieve that stress, is part of the reason that I came back to work,” Otto said.

Although Otto is only back for eight weeks, she plans to make the most of it. She seeks to bring positivity and connectedness throughout the school.

Otto stated that part of the reason that she came back to work is to be involved in meaningful work because she believes in the work of teachers and administrators in schools.

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