Collaborative Welcomes Lund as New Coordinator
WORTHINGTON — Today the leadership of the Nobles County Integration Collaborative (NCIC) changes hands as Linda Lund steps into the role of coordinator and takes over many of the responsibilities formerly held by Lakeyta Potter.
Lund has been a member of the NCIC council for the past four years, and when she heard Potter was resigning, she was instantly interested in the position.
“I thought about my skill set, and I thought about the position, and I just couldn’t get it out of my head,” she said.
Potter, who will work at Worthington High School as a counselor, agreed that Lund’s background and experiences fit the requirements of the position and will help her connect with the diverse youths of Worthington and the surrounding area to fulfill the mission of the NCIC.
“She just has a fun personality, is very pleasant and has sat on our council for four years,” Potter said. “She knows the mission of NCIC, what our goals are and what we do here. Just in that alone, I think she stands out and is going to do great.
“She is passionate about what we do and for someone to come into this role, you have to be passionate.”
The NCIC works with a large number of students who have immigrated to the United States — something Lund can relate to. Born and raised in Tura, India — a community in the northeast corner of the country — Lund moved back to the United States when she was in junior high and has experienced firsthand the challenges of integrating into a new culture.
“I know what a lot of the families I’ll be working with will feel like,” she said. “Moving to a new country and learning to live in it and love it — that’s just what the Collaborative is about — trying to get them acclimated and so forth.”
A resident of rural Fulda, Lund graduated from the University of Sioux Falls and taught music education in Fulda for 17 years. She is a member of the Fulda School Board, a position she has held for the past 10 years, and also has a master’s degree in English as a second language.
She and her husband, Brian, have four children, Michael, Jasmine, David and Daniel, and three grandchildren. They are both active members in the community and have hosted 17 exchange students, primarily from Europe.
“Having 17 exchange students living in our house is another thing that has really gotten us used to dealing with language and different cultures,” Lund said.
“I feel like my whole life has been preparing me for this,” she said of the job she is obviously excited to start.
As Lund steps into her new position, she is aware of the efforts of those who have come before her.
“The leadership of this Collaborative has been so good,” Lund said. “I feel blessed to be stepping into such a well-run organization. My hope is to just continue that.”
She is also excited about the academic and youth emphasis of many of the NCIC programs that strive to create an integrated future for southwest Minnesota.
“I love that it’s called integration instead of desegregation because desegregation is more a legal term where the law is forcing you to be together,” Lund said. “Integration is more a social matter where people opt to live together.”
While Lund praised the past efforts to the NCIC, she would like to expand the programs to include more of the surrounding school districts.
“There is a lot of stuff that happens in Worthington, and it’s being handled very well, but the surrounding districts — who are also part of this Collaborative — are not as involved and are not taking the opportunities as much,” she said.
To that end, Lund also dreams of using her music background at the NCIC and adding a choir to increase participation of students in all the partner school districts.
“One of the things that I want to do is to have a Rainbow Choir and pull in people from the surrounding districts, like an honors choir,” she said.
Brian Lund is also involved in the NCIC and has also worked as an NCIC interventionist in Fulda for the past year.
“Interventionists are people who are hired in the different school districts to work with kids that are falling between the cracks and especially those from different cultures,” Lund explained. “He has worked with the Karen kids who go to the Fulda district.”
As Potter prepares for her new position with District 518, she said she will miss her former co-workers at NCIC, where she has worked for six years and acted as the coordinator for the past year.
Moving forward, Potter said she hopes to stay involved in NCIC’s work and plans to stop by the office to visit her former co-workers and the new coordinator often.
“I wish the best for the Collaborative, and I think there is a bright future for them,” she added.