REGIONAL — Area school districts are welcoming six new principals/dean of students to their administration teams this year. The new administrators around the area include:
Windom Area School’s newest high school principal is no stranger to the district.
Having taught social studies at WAS since 2006, Bryan Joyce has officially stepped into his new administrator’s role.
Joyce said he decided to pursue his administrative license in 2015. Upon finishing in 2017, he considers himself fortunate to work as dean of students one year prior to the high school principal position opening.
A Windom resident of more than 10 years, Joyce said he, his wife and their four children enjoy living in the Windom community, and he’s proud to be a Windom Eagle.
“I want to serve our students and staff in my new role for years to come,” he said.
Joyce anticipates creatively budgeting the school’s needs with available funding as being a challenge for the upcoming year.
“I look forward to working with our administrative team and all staff to creatively address our needs and do what’s best for our students,” Joyce said. “Our team approach will ensure the best results for all students and staff moving forward.”
Students and staff have already started the school year at Windom Area Schools, which is allowed due to elementary construction. Thinking of the year ahead, Joyce is most excited to see the staff's excitement about working with students.
“We have people who cannot wait to get started and are filled with optimism about what we do in our building every day,” Joyce said. “It is an honor to be in a position to serve such wonderful professionals leading our amazing students.”
It’s going to be a bit of a homecoming for Jason Phelps when school starts this fall.
The 20-year veteran of education will return to Luverne Public Schools after gaining experience as an administrator at Hills-Beaver Creek. Phelps, who will be Luverne’s new middle school principal, taught social studies at Luverne for 15 years before serving as elementary principal at H-BC for the last five.
The position at Luverne gets Phelps back into the middle school scene and in the town in which he and his family reside.
“I had some knowledge of the district from past work experience but have noticed that there have been changes over the past five years,” Phelps said, adding that the most notable changes are the construction projects.
As with any job or school district, Phelps anticipates there to be challenges, which he says he approaches with an equal mindset.
“I’m most excited about seeing students and staff have a positive experience at school,” Phelps said. “The excitement that comes with a new school year is something that we hope to maintain throughout the entire school year. I am excited to meet new students, families and staff members.”
A small school district, administrative team, community and teaching staff combined attracted new Mountain Lake Elementary Principal Kristie Rolling to MLPS.
Rolling joins the Mountain Lake Public School system after serving in many roles in the Granada Huntley East Chain School District. She’s been the dean of students, Title I coordinator, district assessment coordinator and online learning coordinator. Prior to that, she taught K-12 special education for several years.
Rolling joins a district currently undergoing building renovations, which has presented some challenges. Rolling credited current superintendent Bill Strom and High School Principal Michelle Larson as instrumental to ensuring the school year is set up to be successful.
“All the staff have been very flexible during this process, which has been beneficial not only to the process, but also very supportive as I transition into the district,” Rolling said. “I am so impressed in the quality and dedication of the teachers, support personnel and administration within Mountain Lake Public Schools.”
Rolling is looking forward to meeting students and families at tonight’s back to school open house.
“The Mountain Lake community has been very welcoming and I am looking forward to a very successful year,” she said.
Adrian’s new dean of students will be a familiar face.
Having recently earned his master’s degree in educational leadership, Randy Schettler will transition from his Adrian middle school math room of 16 years to an administrative office. He’ll continue working toward earning his administrative license through Southwest Minnesota State University this fall.
Working with a wider variety of individuals in the community and school is appealing to Schettler.
“As the dean of students, I will have the opportunity to collaborate with parents, teachers, students, community members and other administrators as we strive to provide the best educational experience we can for our youth,” he said.
Schettler anticipates what he called the “unknown” as being a potential challenge as he steps into the new role. Whether that be writing grants, scheduling or meeting state requirements and deadlines, Schettler said he’ll use his current knowledge and the people around him with previous experience to help him navigate the “unknown” — and be successful in doing so.
Schettler is excited for the kids to return to school.
“They are why we are here and what the people in the educational world look forward to on a daily basis,” Schettler said. “Along with providing an excellent educational experience for all students, we enjoy helping them to grow and mature into successful contributors in society.”
Schettler is also personally looking forward to working more with the pre-kindergarten through fifth-grade students, an aspect he hasn’t had much opportunity to enjoy in the past.
New Hills-Beaver Creek secondary principal Molly Schilling joins the school district after teaching in George-Little Rock, Iowa and at Ellsworth High School. She was also the eighth-grade principal at George-Little Rock.
Schilling said she was attracted to H-BC’s strong community support, tradition of success and values and beliefs that match her own.
“Hills-Beaver Creek offers a unique educational environment that has the small school support system that feels more like a family,” Schilling said, adding that an increasing number of high school graduates want to come back to the community to raise a family.
Since being on the job, Schilling has been meeting with staff and discovering more about the district.
“The staff is very warm and welcoming, but more than that, their hearts are in it for the right reasons,” she said. “Everyone is very child-centered, open and willing to try things to make sure each individual student succeeds.”
She added feeling welcomed by school board members, parents and community members, as well as superintendent Todd Holthaus, who has supported her throughout the transition.
One of the challenges Schilling foresees relates to policy and procedure — more specifically, how it differs between Iowa and Minnesota school systems. Networking and attending training events through the Southwest West Central Service Cooperative has been helpful.
“I have enjoyed reviewing the 2018-2019 yearbook, trying to learn students' names, but this will also be a challenge the first few weeks to get to know each student personally,” Schilling added. “I really strive to build a relationship with each student; being new to a district means there are a lot of students and families to get to know.”
Another transition Schilling will oversee at the high school level is becoming a positive behavioral interventions and supports (PBIS) school, similar to the elementary. The program is meant to encourage good behavior and act as prevention, not punishment.
Schilling said she’s anxiously awaiting staff and students to return to campus.
“I am eager to see current practices come to life, build relationships and have the opportunity to facilitate conversations and opportunities for individuals to grow,” she said. “I am really looking forward to empowering staff to personalize education for students.”
New Jackson County Central Riverside Elementary Principal Sarah Scofield said she knew instantly that the position in Jackson was a fit following her interview process.
Scofield comes to Jackson following seven years’ experience between preschool and kindergarten classrooms in Bemidji. She said she was immediately drawn to Riverside Elementary due to the transition of K-3.
“I have a true passion for primary schools and believe greatly in the large impact a K-3 community can make on our students,” she said.
JCC staff and community members alike have already impacted Scofield, as they’ve helped make her transition as “successful and smooth” as possible.
“I have been welcomed with open arms, supported in countless ways and know that I truly am part of a wonderful community,” Scofield said.
Scofield joins JCC during a time of what she termed big transitions, with a lot of change occurring just over the summer.
“With the ‘Inspiring Excellence’ at the forefront, these transitions are only going to soar JCC into a very positive direction,” she said.
Scofield said she’s excited for the first day of school, where all the background work preparing for a new school year by all staff members comes together.
“Opening our doors to the full community of JCC K-3 students is what excites me most,” she said.