Jill Brandl GurtnerJill Brandl Gurtner grew up in a home deeply rooted in community, education, and wrestling. From an early age, she spent her weekends traveling to wrestling tournaments with her father, Paul Brandl, and brother Doug. Paul worked to build a youth wrestling program in Plymouth, WI, while Doug began his wrestling career. As the unofficial team manager, Jill kept the growing number of young wrestlers organized and was quickly learning the ins and outs of the sport. While she occasionally encountered a female wrestler at these events in the 1970s and early 80s, it was always clear that competing as a wrestler was not an option for her. Wrestling at that time was limited to serving as her brother’s sparring partner. At times she was invited by one of the coaches to take down an overly confident little guy and to put him on his back to get him to work harder in practice.

When Jill attended high school, Plymouth High was ahead of the technology times and was recording wrestling matches and playing them on the local cable station. Jill joined Mike Briggs as his color commentator for each of the broadcasts.

Jill’s officiating career started at youth wrestling tournaments while she was in high school. Despite never having wrestled, she developed an in-depth knowledge of wrestling rules and enjoyed participating in the action officially. When she headed to college at Marquette University, her father encouraged her to become certified as a WIAA official. She started her officiating career working JV matches in the Sheboygan county area and at Milwaukee Washington and other MPS high schools. As a small-town girl, she was overcoming fears both in confidently stepping on the mat having never wrestled and in learning to navigate the city busses and travel to unfamiliar neighborhoods in the city. For 20 years, Jill officiated and rose in rankings, ultimately becoming the first woman to officiate the WIAA state tournament. She twice officiated the state tournament as well as officiated matches at the NCAA level.

A lifelong educator, Jill was hired as a high school level administrator in the Middleton Cross Plains Area School district in 1995. In the early 2000s, Jill joined with Luke Francois to start a women’s wrestling program, and for the first time, stepped on the mat as a coach and a wrestler. She enjoyed this opportunity to experience the physical intensity of the sport and to allow young women the opportunity to participate.

The combination of the arrival of her children, Jacey and Zoe, a highly demanding job as a school administrator, and working to earn advanced degrees in educational leadership caused her to step away from officiating in 2009. She remains an avid wrestling fan. She and her Dad have traveled to watch the Badgers in the Big Ten and NCAA tournament for over 20 years and now are joined by Jacey. Jill, her husband Tim, and their children live just outside of Middleton, WI. Jill continues to serve as a high school administrator in the Middleton Cross Plains Area School District, where she is passionate about redesigning education to engage all learners deeply.

Jill Brandl Gurtner Accomplishments

1983-1987 Wrestling Color Commentator for Local Cable TV station
1988-2008 WIAA official
2000-2005 NCAA official
2003, 2005 First Female to Officiate WIAA State Tournament
1999-2006 Women’s wrestling coach Middleton High School
1995-Present High School Administrator in Middleton Cross Plains Area School District
2012 Opened Clark Street Community School (CSCS) and currently serves as Principal at CSCS
2019 Clark Street Community School is the first high school in the State of Wisconsin to receive recognition as a Gold Level School of Opportunity by the National Education Policy Center