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UPDATE: Former Prairie assistant principal hired as new WMS principal; 2 assistant principals chosen

Eight candidates were interviewed for the positions last week.

Toni Baartman
Toni Baartman
Submitted photo

WORTHINGTON — District 518 has chosen a familiar face as the new principal of Worthington Middle School: Toni Baartman served as assistant principal at Prairie Elementary before taking her current position as elementary principal at Pipestone Area Schools.

"I'm just super thrilled and happy to be a part of it," Baartman said.

The two open assistant principal positions for the district have also been filled.

Doug Brands, currently the principal at the Learning Center, VIBE, EDGE/Targeted Services for the district, will be the new assistant principal at Worthington High School.

Casey Hertz, currently a science teacher and coach at Worthington Middle School, will be the assistant principal at WMS.

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Baartman, who graduated from Worthington High School, earned her degree in physical education and health education from Southwest Minnesota State University. She earned her master's degree from Southwest Minnesota State University and her education administration licensure from Minnesota State University Moorhead.

"One of the things I really want to do is work with the students and staff in making it feel like a family atmosphere," she said. "That's really important to me — relationships are really important."

Thus, her first move will be working to establish relationships with students and staff, and she plans to go on from there.

Baartman said working at Pipestone had been a great experience, and while she loves elementary she is excited "to do something new and learn and grow in that capacity."

Baartman's experience includes teaching physical education at Hill Elementary School from 2008 to 2011, followed by her stint as assistant principal at Prairie from 2012 to 2016. Since 2016 she has served as principal of Pipestone Area Schools Elementary.

"I'm super excited to meet everybody and I'm going to make it a point to try and meet with students," Baartman said.

All three new administrators will begin their new positions this summer, with Baartman beginning July 1 and the others starting Aug. 1, said Anne Foley, public relations coordinator for the district.

"We are excited to have a great team being put into place that have many talents and backgrounds," she said.

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Eight candidates were interviewed for the positions last week.

Brands graduated from Worthington High School, and earned a degree at the University of Sioux Falls in math education in 1998. He earned his master's degree at Southwest Minnesota State University and his education administration licensure from St. Mary's University of Minnesota.

He taught math in Milaca from 1999 to 2002 and at Worthington High School from 2002 to 2018.

Doug Brands
Doug Brands
Submitted photo

Hertz is a graduate of Sibley-Ocheyedan (Iowa) Public Schools. He received a degree in biology education from Southwest Minnesota State University, where he also played football. He earned a master's degree from the University of Illinois and an education administration licensure from Minnesota State University Moorhead.

He taught biology at Cedar Mountain Schools, Morgan, from 2016 to 2017, and since then has taught science and coached a variety of sports at WMS.

Casey Hertz
Casey Hertz
Submitted photo

A 1999 graduate of Jackson County Central and a 2003 graduate of Augsburg College, Kari Lucin started writing for newspapers in Minnesota and North Dakota in 2006. During her time as a reporter, she covered beats including education, watershed, county and agriculture, and frequently wrote about health and science. She has also served as an online content coordinator and an engagement specialist at various Forum Communications properties. She was a marketing assistant at Iowa Lakes Community College in Estherville for two years, where she did design work in addition to writing and social media management.

Lucin is currently a community editor with the Globe of Worthington.

Email: klucin@dglobe.com
Phone: (507) 376-7319
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