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Nicolet College - Elizabeth Burmaster named new president of Nicolet College

Elizabeth Burmaster selected
as new president of Nicolet College

The Board of Trustees of Nicolet College in Rhinelander has announced that Elizabeth Burmaster has accepted the position of president at the college. She will begin the position this summer following the retirement of Adrian Lorbetske who has served as president for the past 18 years.

"The board is pleased to bring an extremely experienced educator with outstanding leadership abilities to Nicolet," said Gene Carlson, President of the Nicolet Board of Trustees. "We had the luxury of reviewing a high quality pool of applicants, and we believe we have chosen someone who will provide strong college leadership for activities both in the Nicolet District and throughout the state."

Burmaster presently serves as the Wisconsin State Superintendent of Public Instruction, a statewide, nonpartisan, elected position she has held since 2001.

"It will be an honor to serve as President of Nicolet, an outstanding institution of higher education in our state," Burmaster said. "At Nicolet, learners of all ages have access to quality education in the liberal arts, occupational and technical fields. Especially during these difficult economic times, we must keep Nicolet strong in serving the citizens of northern Wisconsin."

Board President Gene Carlson said Burmaster accepted the position on Friday. Her selection ends a six and a half month search process. Burmaster, along with two other finalists for the position, George Karling and Jim Brown, participated in on-site interviews with the board and open forums with college staff and community members in February.

Two other finalists, Ray Nadolny and Kerry Youngblood, withdrew their applications after accepting presidencies at other colleges.

Bob Martini, who chaired the search committee for the college, said he was pleased with the results of the lengthy, deliberate process. "Most importantly, it was a participatory process. The board received literally hundreds of comments from members of the community and members of the staff. It reaffirmed for the board just how important the college is to the life of northern Wisconsin, and how very deeply so many people care about its future direction."

Martini said the comments showed how important it is for Burmaster and the college to continuously look to "balance the elements that make up the Nicolet mission. People's comments were very helpful in the selection process."

Additionally, he said their comments underscored the importance of the college's role in occupational training, liberal arts, workforce development, the arts, and serving the communities of the Nicolet District as important aspects of the college's daily work.

Prior to becoming DPI Superintendent, Burmaster was the Principal of Madison West High School for nine years, Principal of Hawthorne Elementary School in Madison for two years, and has been a Fine Arts Coordinator, Assistant Principal, Choral and Drama Director, and Vocal Music Teacher at a variety of Madison area K-12 schools. She holds a Master of Science in Education Administration from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a Bachelor of Music from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and honorary doctorates from Edgewood College and Beloit College.