Independent School District 834 looked west to find a new principal for Oak Park Elementary School after current principal Ginny Kruse retires this year.
Oak Park’s new principal, Nathan Cox, hails from Roseville Elementary in Willmar, where he has worked for almost 15 years.
“I’m very excited, and I’m incredibly impressed with the Stillwater School District as a whole. I’ve been able to meet with various people in the district throughout the interview process and I feel like they got a good chance to get to know me, and I got to know about them.” Cox said.
“He was the leading candidate, and I was impressed with how well regarded by everyone in his district — from parents to teachers as well as the assistant and superintendant and the teaching and learning director — he was,” said ISD 834 Director of Elementary Schools Mary Anderson. “There’s a nice synchronicity and new point of view that he’ll bring to the district.”
Cox said he is very excited about working with his new staff.
“The building and staff at Oak Park are just the most warm and welcoming people,” he said. “I’m looking forward to growing and learning with each of them.”
Immediate goals Cox hopes to accomplish in his new position are building relationships, communication and understanding.
“I’m all about building trust and there’s some nervousness with starting all over, but I’ll have a huge heavy focus on building relationships with kids and staff and families. I want to be able to communicate with them as well as I can and I want to be a trusted leader and I hope to do that quickly.” he said. “For the first year, I don’t expect to go in with guns blazing wanting to make changes, but I want to learn from those at my school about what goals are in the best interest for my new students and families.”
The tough thing for Cox now is convincing his three children that moving away isn’t going to be as bad as they think. They plan to move in to Stillwater this summer.
“We do have some family in the area, and we’re looking forward to starting our new chapter together.” Cox said.
Anderson said that Kruse will be missed, but she believes the district found someone capable of filling her shoes.
“She has such a wealth of experience, and the Oak Park Staff love her. She’s so calm, and loving and cares about everyone. She’s very hands-on with her staff,” Anderson said. “When we asked (teachers) what we were looking for they told us, ‘Just clone Ginny’ and though we didn’t clone her, I think we’re pretty close.”