New face in community education
Cori Reynolds always knew her calling was to work in the schools. But she didn't have the patience and skill set to be a teacher. So she picked community education.
Eleven years later, Reynolds knows she's found the perfect niche.
"My interests were beyond a specific grade," she said. "I love education on all levels."
Reynolds was recently hired as the director of the Brainerd School District's Community Education.
In the post she'll head a department of five people, which aims to educate the community, one class at a time.
Reynolds firmly believes that education shouldn't just start once the school bell rings and it shouldn't stop once there's a diploma.
"Everyone, every family member, deserves an opportunity to enrich their life," she said.
Reynolds was previously at the Foley School District, where she was the community education director for the district of 1,800 students. Before that, she worked in St. Paul, working in adult and youth community education.
Brainerd is bigger than the areas she's worked before. Reynolds sees more opportunities.
"I am amazed daily by the things going on here," she said. "This is the cutting edge of community services."
Not everyone quite understands what her department does, or even knows it exists. That's something she wants to change.
"We do such great programs at a great value. If everyone knew about it, classes would be overflowing," she said.
Reynolds and her staff will work to address that issue, along with trying to expand the programs they already run.
They'll explore the idea of early morning classes, ways to pull tourists in and new programs to reach more people.
They'll try to partner with more organizations and internally, where improvements can be made on connecting and working together.
Reynolds wants to promote and expand the services that aren't being utilized as much as they should, like the adult basic education classes.
"You're never too old, it's never too late, to get your GED," she said.
The future of the department is promising, she said, as the staff work to promote its mission.
Learning should be all day long, at all ages, Reynolds said.
"Community education is a mechanism to do that," she said.