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Denzer takes helm as director of special programs for District 518

WORTHINGTON -- Tricia Denzer will begin work July 1 as District 518's director of special programs, a position that includes directing special education, the school nurse program and English language learning.

Denzer is currently the director of special services for the Dallas County School District in Buffalo, Mo.

"We're from the area, so it would be coming home for us," Denzer said. "I'm excited. I've almost packed my house -- now if I could sell it, I'd be a happy woman."

Denzer is a native of Bricelyn, a small town in Faribault County.

She received her bachelor's degree from Drake University, Des Moines, Iowa, in 1993, her master's degree in special education from Minnesota State University, Mankato, in 2001, and her administrative licensure from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, in 2004.

Denzer has teaching and paraprofessional experience in Blooming Prairie High School, Blooming Prairie, Zumbro Education District, Byron, Long Prairie-Grey Eagle Schools, Long Prairie, Fontana Unified School District, Fontana, Calif., Montgomery-Lonsdale Schools, Montgomery, and Omaha Public Schools, Omaha, Neb.

Before she started in Dallas County in 2005, Denzer worked as an administrative intern and director of special education/K-12 principal at Medford Public School, Medford, from 2003 to 2004. She was special services coordinator in Medford from 2002 to 2005.

Denzer said she appreciated the variety of activities available in Worthington, and referencing her 8-year-old daughter, Tawny, the community's progressive school district.

"My daughter's excited about the pool and the hockey, and there are so many parks," Denzer explained. "I think it's a great place to raise a family."

Denzer was surprised to learn she had gotten the job. She liked the way the May 7 interviews included so many stakeholders, from teachers to secretaries to school board members.

District 518 Superintendent John Landgaard also believed the interviews went well.

"I think she'll come into the district and learn the system and help folks grow and move forward," Landgaard said. "She's going to do a very good job for us."

Denzer was a good choice, according to Landgaard, because of her experience, giving her the knowledge and the background the District 518 position requires.

Initially, District 518 received 10 applications for the position, and the hiring committee interviewed three finalists for the position of director of special programs, vacated by Betty McAllister when she retired.