Community education director retiring

Shingler takes over for Kane next week

Contributed Photo Sandi Kane, left, who is retiring as community education director for the Shawano School District, poses for a photo with Robyn Shingler, who takes over the job next week.

Longtime community education director for the Shawano School District, Sandi Kane, will step down from her post next week, retiring after 31 years with the district.

Kane has overseen the district’s community education program since 2002, when it was just a tiny corner office.

The program moved to Shawano Community Middle School after the fifth grade was relocated to Hillcrest Primary School. In addition to larger offices, the program now has two classrooms at its disposal and additional space for storage.

The offices are also more conveniently located, with direct access from the outside so visitors no longer have to trudge through the school and congested student spaces to get there.

The program was originally a partnership with the school district and Northeast Wisconsin Technical College.

Among the earliest offerings were swimming lessons, weight training and the Senior Tax Exchange Program for seniors, giving them the opportunity to work in the district and apply their earnings toward their property taxes.

Now the program offers around 60 different classes a year, including personal enrichment, arts and crafts, cooking, nature studies, yoga, and more, with anywhere from 500 to 1,000 participants per semester.

“We have a big variety,” Kane said, and there is always outreach seeking additional people interested in teaching additional classes.

Kane has been instrumental in seeking out new instructors to offer classes catered to the interests of the community.

Kane said she will absolutely miss her involvement with community education.

“I’ll miss all the students and friends I’ve made over the years,” she said. “I love the Shawano area and I’ve had a dream job.”

Kane’s last day is Tuesday, but she’s not disappearing from the community.

“I’ll be around,” she said. “I’ve already joined two nonprofits.”

Kane will be replaced as community education director Robyn Shingler, who started working with Kane on Monday to get a handle on the new job.

“I’m excited to be her student and absorb what she’s amassed over the years,” Shingler said, adding that the seven days of overlapping time with Kane “is not nearly enough.”

Shingler is a past community education student who developed a working relationship with Kane.

She brings a background in marketing and promotion to the job, along with experience in workforce development from her time with the Shawano County Job Center.

She hopes to eventually add new offerings in entrepreneurship and youth leadership to the community education roster.

Shingler credited Kane for laying the groundwork on which the community education program can expand into new areas and new opportunities.

In the meantime, she said, “I’m digging in and learning the ropes. I’m pleased to step in. I couldn’t be more thrilled.”