Main Menu

Explore More

A New Chapter: Superintendent Damian LaCroix Announces Retirement; Successor Selected

A New Chapter: Superintendent Damian LaCroix Announces Retirement; Successor Selected

The email below was sent to HSSD Staff and Families on September 11, 2023. More information can be found on the Superintendent page


Dear Howard-Suamico School District Staff and Families,

Today marks a noteworthy moment in the history of our school district as we announce the retirement of an exceptional leader and embark on an exciting new chapter. At tonight’s Board of Education meeting, we accepted the retirement of Superintendent Damian LaCroix. After 19 years of dedicated service, Superintendent LaCroix will conclude his final year on June 30, 2024. 

In addition, we unanimously selected Dr. Mark Smith as Superintendent LaCroix’s successor. He will begin in this role on July 1, 2024. 

Photo of Damian LaCroix and Mark Smith

Superintendent Damian LaCroix to Retire June 30, 2024

Throughout his tenure, Superintendent LaCroix’s unwavering commitment to our students, families, and staff has left a lasting mark on both our district and the broader community. Under his steadfast and visionary leadership, we have achieved remarkable milestones that have transformed the educational landscape within our region.

From pioneering innovative educational practices to successfully navigating crucial facility referendums, Superintendent LaCroix's leadership has been instrumental in forging strong relationships with public and private sector partners and donors. Additionally, his strategic guidance has contributed to community progress and unprecedented levels of excellence in HSSD’s academics, arts, and athletics.

Above all, Superintendent LaCroix's focus has been on the safety, achievement, and well-being of each and every student. His guidance has led us towards a culture of compassion and continuous improvement; fostering a caring learning community where leadership, learning, and growth are at the forefront of all we do.

Superintendent LaCroix said, "The Howard-Suamico School District will forever hold a special place in my heart. It has been a tremendous honor and privilege to work alongside incredible staff, to serve a committed Board of Education, and to partner with supportive families and volunteers in helping each student pursue their full potential." 

His sentiment reflects a legacy of relational trust forged with the HSSD learning community over the years. His dedication to faithfully serving those under his leadership has been a source of inspiration for us all. 

Dr. Mark Smith Unanimously Selected as Superintendent

While it's difficult to imagine our district without Superintendent LaCroix, we are excited to announce that, with a vote of 7-0, the Board of Education has selected Dr. Mark Smith as the next Superintendent.

The Board of Education's unanimous decision reflects the confidence we have in his ability to build upon the foundation of excellence that has been laid and to guide our district to even greater heights. 

Rachelle Paulsen, Board of Education Director, was part of both Superintendent hiring processes in 2005 and 2023. “Prior to 2005, we experienced significant turnover in the Superintendent role. At that time, we knew we needed consistency so we made the decision to select Damian, an internal candidate, to the role of Superintendent. This turned out to be the right decision,” she said. “Similarly, Mark has proven himself as an integral member of the strategic leadership team for several years. His deep understanding of our district's unique strengths and challenges position him to continue the legacy of excellence we've come to expect from our leadership.” 

Superintendent Smith began his tenure at HSSD in 2016, and was appointed Deputy Superintendent in 2019. In this role, he has gained a variety of top-level leadership experiences as he’s guided HSSD principals, Organizational Development, Teaching & Learning, and Student Services. Prior to HSSD, he served as teacher, coach, principal, and in a variety of executive leadership roles at the Green Bay Area Public School District. 

“The Howard-Suamico School District is a special place with a unique story to tell. It has been my family’s home for nearly 20 years, and my kids love the opportunities the district provides. My wife Stephanie and I have found such joy being part of this community,” said Superintendent Smith. “This opportunity is a dream come true and it is my privilege to step into the space as leader of this incredible organization, in partnership with our students, families, staff, and community.” 

What’s Next?

As we welcome Superintendent Smith into his new role, he and Superintendent LaCroix will work hand-in-hand throughout the 2023-24 school year to ensure a smooth transition. We are confident that this collaborative approach will help us maintain our momentum and ensure that our students continue to receive an exceptional education.

Please join us in honoring Superintendent LaCroix’s remarkable career and welcoming Superintendent Smith to his new role. Stay tuned throughout the year for opportunities to celebrate Superintendent LaCroix’s legacy! 

Thank you for your ongoing support and commitment to our students. Together, we will build on our past as we create an even brighter future for HSSD students and our community.


Greg Klimek 
Board of Education President