As I sit here writing this column there are many thoughts going through my head. In this world of social media and instant communication there is no doubt word has spread that I have signed a contract to be superintendent in a school district outside of Des Moines, Iowa. I have notified the school board that I will not be returning next year and have offered whatever services are needed until my current contract expires on June 30.
This has been a challenging decision. I never expected to be leaving Stillwater Area Public Schools. Like many of you have done at some point in your life, however, I’ve been thinking about my future. This led me to explore a new option near my wife’s family and, ultimately, a position that matches with my strengths and experiences and fits the needs of my family.
As school superintendent, the last three years have been filled with immense highs and lows. Incredibly exciting changes are under way to redesign Stillwater Area Public Schools to meet the needs of our students today and into the future. I am extremely proud of the work that has been done around Bridge to Excellence, the community-driven plan that is focused on providing students with the experiences they need to be successful in an ever-changing world.
I’m also proud of the many innovations and efficiencies that have occurred in the past few years and the many times our community has come together to support its students and schools. There are exciting plans in the works for the future of this school district, including the addition of art and world languages in our elementary schools and the many flexible learning opportunities being added for students to accelerate learning in the secondary schools. Add these new initiatives with the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) program that was put into place in all schools with the help of local partners, and it becomes clear that there are many great things happening. I am confident that these changes, and the many others on the way, will meet the needs of all of our students and encourage families to take a another look at our schools and help increase enrollment — an important component for a more stable financial future.
Implementing these many positive changes while at the same time addressing budgetary issues and making significant adjustments to work toward a balanced budget is a rare and challenging position to be in. The progress we’re making is a testimony to the great staff, students, families and community members we have here in Stillwater Area Public Schools. There are many difficult decisions ahead as we work through significant financial challenges, there is no denying that, but a great foundation has been laid.
Moving forward, I believe a fresh perspective from a new leader will be beneficial. A new leader will bring a different set of skills to work through challenges and leverage opportunities. I encourage you all to be involved in the process of selecting a new leader as the chance presents itself. I am thankful for the school board who gave me this opportunity — they are good people who work incredibly hard and put in long hours to make a difference for our children and community. They will need your support moving forward.
This is an incredible community, and I’ve been proud to call it home for the past three years. During my time here I have met many great people, worked with some of the best staff I’ve ever encountered and been very impressed with the students and families in our schools. By coming together to continue the important work under way, I have no doubt this community and its schools will emerge stronger than ever.
Superintendent Corey Lunn can be contacted via email at [email protected] or by phone at 651-351-8301.