I am excited to write my first column for the Marshall Independent as the superintendent for Marshall Public Schools!
A bit of personal history, if you will. For the past 10 school years, I served as the superintendent in the Morris (Minnesota) School District. I am a graduate of Lake Park (Minnesota) High School and attended Mayville State University on an athletic and academic scholarship before transferring to Moorhead State University. I completed my undergraduate work at MSU in 1989 with a degree in business education and coaching certification.
I was fortunate enough to be offered the first teaching and coaching position I interviewed for and have been an educator ever since.
I taught business education, coached various sports, and even advised a few groups and activities for 10 years (in Dell Rapids and Spearfish, S.D., and in Grand Rapids, Chokio-Alberta, and Frazee in Minnesota). I completed my graduate degree and requirements for administrative licensure at MSU in 1999. I then served as a high school principal for five years (Fulda and Benson) before accepting the position in Morris.
My wife, Lisa, and I have lived in Benson since 2000. I began officiating high school football in 1995, college football in 2003, and high school basketball in 2006. I help the Minnesota State High School League during the state football semifinals running the play clock and as the supervisor of television commercials during the Prep Bowl.
In my free time, I enjoy attending school-sponsored and school-related activities, reading, spending time with family, traveling and fishing.
The position for Marshall Public Schools attracted me for many reasons: excellent staff, many opportunities for students/staff/parents/the community, a variety of collaborative efforts taking place, a reputation as a progressive and quality school district, and the Marshall community in general. During my first few weeks here, all of those things continue to repeatedly shine through. It's obvious to me that people are proud of Marshall Public Schools and that many good things are happening in the district, community and region. Unquestionably, I am humbled to be able to be a part of Marshall Public Schools.
As you may be aware, the start of the 2014-2015 school year is fast approaching. School starts on Aug. 18 and staff workshop is Aug. 12. With the start of each school year, there are a variety of continued and new focus areas for schools. For MPS, we will continue to direct our efforts implementing a successful technology initiative, studying district facilities and planning for the future, continuing to seek ways to strengthen our programs and opportunities for students, and collaborating with various partners in the district and community.
MPS is in the second year of the most recent three-year commitment to the Flexible Learning Year. It is my impression there are mixed feelings and opinions about the FLY, and I am interested in working with various stakeholders to determine if the FLY has met expectations and had the desired effect on student achievement and professional development.
In addition, there will be new focus areas in MPS. There will be an increased focus on bullying prevention efforts due to the Safe and Supportive Schools Act that was passed during the last legislative session. In addition, administrators and licensed staff members will begin implementation of a new teacher evaluation and development plan.
A welcoming and safe school environment and professional growth for staff are both vital for a school district to be successful. Both of these state mandates are the "right thing" to do, yet they will also require the investment of additional district resources, primarily staff time.
I look forward to meeting as many students, staff, parents, community members, and residents of the school district as possible and becoming a part of this wonderful community and school district. Please feel free to contact me with questions or concerns that you might have. It is best to reach me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for taking time to read this...Go Tigers!