My very first superintendent of schools position began in Bagley, Minn. Upon entrance into the position my predecessor, Gary Bratvold, sent me a card with a message of congratulations, providing me with a clear focus for my future in educational leadership.

Following a rather lengthy message of congratulations on the inside of the card, Mr. Bratvold drew a picture of a “Y” with the word “students” written on the right side of the “Y.” He added a statement reminding me to always put the best interests of our students above all else when making decisions for our schools. The card and message he sent meant so much to me that it remains taped to my computer monitor to this day. I often think about this picture and “whY” are we here? What does it mean to be on the right side of our “whY?” I regularly ask myself, “whY” do we…

  • Put students first, while pursuing educational excellence?

  • Remain committed to mitigation strategies to enhance safety during COVID-19?

  • Embrace high-quality and best-practice professional development for our staff?

  • Prioritize in-person learning?

  • Ensure that our learners have a nutritious breakfast and lunch each day?

  • Support social-emotional learning for all?

  • Champion Warrior academics, athletics, arts, and activities?

  • Remain committed to equitable education?

  • Listen to public concern and provide transparent communication?

  • Invest in 21st century learning environments?

  • Provide state-of-the-art technology?

  • Focus our attention on closing the achievement gap?

  • Sponsor transportation services to and from school and activities?

  • Celebrate when we return “back-to-school?”

The answer to our “whY” is clear, “We do it for our students, our children, our future!” We work in partnership to make lasting change in each child’s life.

A quote I read from Proactive Coaching states, “People who have chosen to work with young people quite often will not see the fruits of their labor for years afterward. Stay the course, stay vigilant, relentlessly positive, visualize, and look forward to the finished product!” Together we can accomplish miracles for our children—it’s our “whY.”

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Whether it's maneuvering through a global pandemic or helping our children obtain their personal goals, thank you for being education partners at Brainerd Public Schools. Have a wonderful school year 2021-22 and remember, “Student success is our whY!”