A Message from System President - Stacey Akey

Greetings Parents and Guardians of SMSA,


I am grateful to be afforded the opportunity to share our story with you and provide evidence of our accomplishments at the close of the fiscal year.  Serving in the role of interim, and most recently, President at SMSA, I have had the honor and privilege of witnessing our mission, core values, and tradition of transforming lives through education, service, and faith, firsthand.  I can assure you that the legacy and charism under which we were founded in 1909, by the Congregation of Sisters of St. Agnes, is alive, well, and thriving on the Ledge.


Enrollment Trends:

As the first day of the 2019-2020 academic year approaches, we are eager to welcome 890 students to the Ledge, representing over a 5% increase in enrollment over a three year period.  Worth noting, over 100 students are new to SMSA this year and elementary grades K-5 are the largest in more than a decade, collectively representing over 350 students!


Unprecedented enrollment growth, and shifts in class size by grade level, placed focus on solutions to increase capacity in an effort to offer the courses necessary to meet the needs of our student population.  As a result, the Facilities and Campus Planning Committee evaluated space constraints and proposed 2nd floor storage space, which previously housed athletic equipment and club/organization items, be converted into two classrooms.  Following Board of Director consideration and approval, the project was underway at the close of the 2018-2019 school year; with completion by late August, 2019 – just in time for the new school year to begin!


Recognizing the enrollment challenges faced by a growing number of Catholic schools in our Archdiocese, and throughout the U.S., we are incredibly blessed and honored to serve a growing number of students and families at SMSA. 


Staff and Faculty:

The Academy’s 130 faculty, staff, and administrators are the single greatest asset in transforming lives and sustaining the mission; therefore, it is critically important that we find ways to demonstrate their value and importance each and every day.  As a result of benefactor support, beginning in the 2019-20 year, we were able to implement a multi-year salary adjustment strategy; thereby, allowing us to begin to address salary compression in our faculty compensation model. In addition to a cost of living increase, approximately $65K was invested in faculty wage adjustments toward the desired three-year salary adjustment target goal of $250K.


Much work and progress has been made to fill key roles with highly qualified faculty and administrators, each of which bring their unique strengths and talents to the SMSA community. There are three key challenges I have come to see, firsthand, in both hiring and retaining talented faculty and staff: (1) salary continues to be a barrier when seeking to hire experienced faculty, especially when competing with the public sector, (2) the cost to replace departing faculty is higher than to retain them due to teacher shortages in high-demand content areas, and (3) we must do better at hiring for mission and marketing the unique benefits one receives by joining the SMSA family.  Continued professional development and a move toward a more collaborative, shared decision-making approach will serve to enhance workplace quality of life.


Reorganization of the Academic Model:

In an effort to enhance student development and improve learning outcomes, we have reconfigured SMSA to an Elementary (PreK-8) / High School (9-12) model, effective the start of the academic year.  This model is supported by educational research, aligns with best practices of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, and has been embraced by SMSA faculty/staff. With the goal of providing leadership consistency and long-term sustainability, we are deploying a Principal/Assistant Principal model:


  • Elementary/Middle School (PreK-8) Team: Steve Kelnhofer will serve as Principal and veteran teacher, Mitch Redig, has agreed to serve as Assistant Principal. 


  • High School (9-12) Team: Eamonn O’Keeffe has been hired to serve as Principal and veteran teacher, coach, and former dean, Kyle Krueger, will fulfill the newly created role of Dean of Character Development.


  • System Pupil Services (K-12): Heather Reilley will serve as Director of Pupil Services as we continue to develop student support services to meet the individual needs of all Ledgers.


To learn more about the minimal impact this reorganization will have on you and your family, including school check-in and exit procedures, please refer to the Impact on You – Academic Model: Elementary/Middle and High School Reorganization, under the News & Updates header, below.


Strengthening Catholic Culture:
At SMSA, we strive to provide our students, staff and families with regular opportunities to encounter Christ through the sacraments. We have created a new Mass and prayer service rotation to provide students at all levels with more liturgical opportunities in our beautiful Lady of the Ledge Chapel. This year we will again be offering Eucharistic Adoration in the Chapel throughout the day every Friday, as well as before school on Wednesday mornings. Our chaplain will offer Reconciliation on a regular basis, and we are adding another system-wide reconciliation day in Advent, in addition to our traditional Lent reconciliation day.


Financial Stability:

For the second consecutive year, SMSA will close the 2018-19 fiscal year (as of June 30) in a strong financial position.  Increasing enrollment, sound fiscal planning, and budget controls helped to maintain a balanced budget while our annual fund appeals and special events brought in $910K in System revenue, exceeding the budgeted target for a second year.  This is again through the generosity and unwavering support of annual fund donors, estate gifts and high performing special events and activities. 


As in prior years, Holy Family Parish has been extremely generous in supporting our System and the students we serve. During 2018-2019 school year, the Parish continued to support funding of our Campus Ministry position in addition to the services of Father John Mitchell as SMSA Campus Chaplain; providing, in total, a gift of $1.027M. This year, Father John LoCoco joins SMSA as Campus Chaplain, bringing his student-centered focus and enthusiasm to campus.


As a result of our fiscal strength this past year, below are just a few items that SMSA has been able to accomplish:


  1. Reinvestment in the physical plant by increasing capacity and classroom space by over 1,700 square feet through the renovation of 2nd floor storage space into two state of the art classrooms. 
  2. Reorganization of SMSA to an Elementary (PreK-8) / High School (9-12) model; thereby, providing leadership consistency and long-term sustainability through deployment of a Principal / Assistant Principal framework.
  3. Title II resources from the State and Professional Development Endowment Fund provided Visible Learning Coaching for all Elementary faculty over the course of 5 days in the fall.  This resulted in children taking ownership for their learning. Visible Learning is teachers partnering with students to goal set and create engaged learning. Teachers learned strategies, best practice and techniques to support high achievement student learning. 
  4. Through generous donor support, Hutter Gymnasium received a facelift in summer 2018. The floorboards, bleachers, and basketball hoops were all replaced and upgraded. The walls received a fresh coat of paint, and new pads were installed under the basketball hoops. 
  5. Technology enhancements, resulting in a $100K investment, include a move to 1:1 Chromebooks for high school students, thereby, placing new technology tools in the hands of 300 students. This, in addition to core technology infrastructure upgrades, helps to ensure enhanced learning opportunities for our students and demonstrates continuous improvement efforts.
  6. Year one of a three-year faculty wage adjustment initiative, resulted in the allocation of  $65K in salary adjustments. Increases were provided to over 85% of SMSA faculty, based on years of service in the teaching profession and degree attainment. 


Strategic Focus for the Year Ahead

In an effort to ensure that every child has an opportunity to maximize their God-given strengths, we must build a culture of excellence, holding students and ourselves to high expectations, and work in partnership with families to ensure individual student success. Over this academic year, and in partnership with the CESA 6 Rapid Center for Improvement, we will work to develop a cohesive leadership team, strengthen the organizational infrastructure, and provide sustained focus on quality teaching and learning – all in an effort to provide a safe, positive, and inspiring learning environment.  


The CESA 6 Rapid Center for Improvement has worked with high performing school districts such as: Kaukauna, Hortonville, Oshkosh and North Fond du Lac and is “committed to developing high-performing and results-orientated school districts, using an integrated approach to continuous improvement, leadership and student advocacy/ownership.” 


In closing, I would like to extend my sincere appreciation to you, for the warm welcome, support and encouragement I have received, and continue to receive, upon serving in the role of President.  The experience, to date, has been transformational and has enriched me beyond words. I am blessed to serve and pledge to advance the mission and core values that define us and the Ledger Legacy!   


In your service,

Stacey Akey




Back to School Night Update

With the recent reconfiguration of our Middle and High Schools, Back to School Night will be for the High School only.


The event will be held on Wednesday, September 11, 2019 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

News & Updates

Impact on You - Academic Model: Elementary/Middle and High School Reorganization


Elementary/Middle School (PreK-8):  Grades PreK-8 will be under the academic administration of Elementary School leadership: 

  • Elementary School (grades PreK-5) classrooms will remain housed in the South Hall. PreK-5 students will enter and exit SMSA through the South Hall entrance. 
  • Middle School (grades 6-8) classrooms will continue to be housed in the North Hall 2nd floor. Students will continue to enter and exit SMSA through the North Hall main entrance.  As consistent with past practice, Middle School students will continue to pick up their Elementary sibling in the South Hall Office hold zone.
    • CHANGES: Middle School students arriving later than 7:50 a.m., may only enter through the South Hall entrance and must report to the South Office to sign in.  Middle School students leaving before the 3:15 p.m. end time, must report to the South Office to sign out for pick up.
    • Middle School student medication will be housed in the South Hall Office.
    • Any matters related to students in PreK – 8, please call the South Hall Office at 920-322-8046.

High School (grades 9-12) will be housed on the North Hall 2nd and 3rd floor.  High School students (Grades 9-12) will continue to enter and exit SMSA through the North Hall main entrance. 

  • Any matter related to students in grades 9-12, please call the North Hall Office at 920-322-8062.

The Gift of Your Time is Priceless

Are you looking for an opportunity to volunteer and become more involved in SMSA?  If yes, then look no further! We are looking for individuals to join our fundraising event committees.


Big Money Raffle, Ledgerfest and Swing Fore Springs can only be made possible through the efforts of energetic volunteers, like yourself!  So, whether you can donate an hour or several hours we would love for you to join us in making SMSA’s fundraising events a huge success!  


Please contact Kristin Zitlow at kzitlow@smsacademy.org or 920-322-8006 for more information on how you can make a difference!

Health paperwork

Paperwork for the 2019/2020 school year will need to be in place if your child will have any type of medication at school (prescription, Epi-pen, inhaler) as well as a new annual health history form. The paperwork will be available at the student Open House and can be emailed to you in advance if requested.


Thank you and please reach out to me at khellmer@smsacademy.org with any questions. 

School Supply List

Please visit the links below for your child(s) grade level.

P3 & K4 click here

K-2nd grade click here

3rd-5th grade click here

6th-8th grade click here

High School click here


Gym Uniforms

Gym uniforms are available for purchase at Hoppers Silk Screening (77 North Main Street).
Grade K – 5 families, please purchase the blue SMSA gym shirt from Hoppers, you do not have to purchase the black SMSA gym shorts, you may provide your own black shorts.
Grades 6 – 12 families, please purchase the blue SMSA gym shirt and black SMSA gym shorts from Hoppers.

Box Top Information

Spread the word!  You can now use the Box Tops app to scan your receipt and earn Box Tops cash for SMSA! 


Please click here to view a short video on how to sign up!


Important Upcoming Dates

Open Campus- August 29th

All families/students should plan to attend our Open Campus event on Thursday, August 29, 2019 from 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.  Drop off your school supplies, meet your teachers, set up lunch accounts and turn in required forms. This event is a great way to ensure the first day of school runs smoothly.


REMINDER! NFL Sports Blitz Sweepstakes - Deadline August 29th

Process: cards are due back no later than Thursday, August 29, 2019.  They can be returned to the Scrip Office anytime during Scrip business hours, or brought to orientation on August 29th.  Need more cards!? Additional sweepstakes cards are available at the Scrip Office during Scrip business hours.


Prizes: will be awarded to the top student sellers and the class that sells the most cards will be awarded a special class trip or the option to keep that money toward their class fund.


Proceeds: supports the Athletic Booster Club (who purchases uniforms, athletic equipment, sponsors athletic buses for tournaments, etc), Parents of Performing Arts (who purchase equipment for our performing arts programs, support performances, etc), and also the Annual Fund (which bridges the gap between tuition and the operational costs of the school).  


Purpose: SMSA must raise roughly $3 million each year. By having our students involved in fundraising, they too, are learning about the importance and impact of their efforts on the school.


SMSA Football Family Night - August 30th

Join your Ledger football players and cheerleaders at the Knights of Columbus Hall on Friday, August 30th for a fun Ledger family potluck.


When: Friday, August 30, 2019 (immediately following the 7:00 p.m. game vs Amherst at Fruth Field)
Where: Knights of Columbus Hall
Cost: $20 per family / $7 per individual
Make checks payable to St. Mary’s Springs; pay at the door.
Coaches and wives, players and cheerleaders eat free.


Click here for more information!  Hope to see you there!

Friends of the Ledgers Appeal - Deadlines August 30th to be included on printed materials

The volunteers of the parent-run Athletic Booster Club (ABC) and Parents for the Performing Arts (PPA) invite you to help support student athletic and performing arts activities as part of their joint appeal. These annual donations are essential for our pre-K through 12 students to help offset the expenses that are required to provide these opportunities. Your generosity provides support to both groups with this single direct donation appeal.


Watch your mail for more information, or click here to download the form.


Thank you, in advance, for your support!

Fond du Lac Area Transit Free Fare Day - August 30th

Leave your wallet at home, Free Fare Day is back! Friday, August 30, 2019 rides will be free on board all City Transit buses. Cookies, water, and free gifts for everyone! Plus Fond du Lac Area Transit will be giving away monthly bus passes, tokens, and day passes!


Please click here to read the full press release.

Please click here to view the flyer.

Lands’ End School Uniform Discount - ends September 3rd

Labor Day weekend means one thing: the new school year is upon us! But, don’t worry, there’s still time for back to school savings on uniforms. When purchasing any Lands’ End school uniform apparel between Wednesday, August 28 – Tuesday, September 3, 2019 you can save 25%!

Welcome Back Spaghetti Dinner - September 18th

The SMSA Grandparents invite you to share dinner with other SMSA families and supporters at the 6th annual Welcome Back Spaghetti Dinner!


Relax and enjoy by renewing and making new friendships in the SMSA Cafeteria from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Wednesday, September 18, 2019.


Click here to view the flyer.


This grandparent event has lots of volunteer opportunities.  Contact

Elaine Rebek at elainerebek@gmail.com or Sue Huck dellahuck@gmail.com for more info on how to be involved.



Scrip Summer Hours

Don’t forget Scrip offers Lands’ End gift cards with a huge 15% rebate. Send your student/s back to school with sharp looking new uniforms!


Scrip Summer Hours:
Monday & Wednesday: 8:00 a.m. – Noon
Tuesday & Thursday: Noon – 4:00 p.m.
Friday: Closed


Scrip School Year Hours (beginning September 3rd):

Monday, Wednesday, Friday: 8:00 a.m. – Noon

Tuesday, Thursday: Noon – 4:00 p.m.