The past 11 years have been rewarding, challenging and very much appreciated. Since arriving in 2011, I have been fortunate to work with some incredible people both inside and outside of the district, including school board chairs Jerry Robicheau, Jason Engbrecht, Tom Casper and Chad Wolff.
We have created some really great partnerships with community groups, including the Chamber of Commerce, Faribault Athletic Boosters, Healthy Community Initiative, HealthFinders, South Central College and many more. The successful creation of the Pathways of Excellence at Faribault High School, the implementation of the seven-period day and maintaining good class size ratios at the elementary schools are examples of what quality collaboration can accomplish.
In order to truly excel, the superintendent must be surrounded by intelligent, dedicated, hard-working staff. I am very proud of our cabinet leadership team and their departments consisting of Nicole Yochum (human resources), Rob Dehnert (special education), Tracy Corcoran (curriculum), Scott Gerdes (finance and operations) and Anne Leland (community education). All five of these positions work together, discuss, debate and come up with solutions that not only resolve issues but put our district in a position of strength and success.
Here are some examples of what has happened under our team of leaders over the past 11 years:
Our human resources department has made some really, really good hires at all levels, special education programming is excelling with outstanding teachers and paraprofessionals, and financially we have maintained a strong fund balance for 11 years and passed two operating levies.
Operationally, the buildings and grounds look great, new building projects include the Faribault Education Center, the addition of the District Office and Conference Center and the addition of our preschool wing at Roosevelt Elementary School.
New programs and initiatives have been implemented into our curricula, such as AVID, a seven-period day at the high school and middle school, additional industrial technology courses and electives at the high school, including our H2C Pathways of Excellence and agriculture. We have a speech team at the high school and a state championship robotics team.
Through our community education programs, we have expanded youth sports, offer a summer STEAM program that enrolls over 500 students in K-8, RISE, Community Schools, expansion of Early Childhood services, Adult Basic Education, grants, grants and more grants.
Districtwide we have a 1-1 initiative with iPads in grades K-12, an innovative grant process for teachers called FEEP (Falcons Education Excellence Program), a lot of Falcon pride, and much more.
All of these programs now exist because of great leadership, collaboration with our community, and the commitment of our school board to students.
Thank you Faribault Public School District and the Faribault community. It has been my privilege to serve you for the past 11 years.
It has been great to be a Falcon.