Submitted by brian on



Since we came to the school district in 2002, I have had the opportunity to communicate with the ROCORI School District community through the space provided by the Cold Spring Record.  It has been, and continues to be, a tremendous privilege to be able to share thoughts and issues in this format. 

With the completion of this week’s article, I plan to take a short break from the writing process, but should be back in August.  As I have each of the past 11 years, I want to wrap up the 2013-2014 year with some final notes of thanks!



Throughout this past school year—and the previous eleven years—the Cold Spring Record has opened space in the paper to allow me to share thoughts and ideas related to the school district.  The Record has been very gracious in providing space to accommodate the notes each week.  I very much appreciate this means of communication with the ROCORI School District.

The Record does not need to offer space for these writings, but Mike Austreng and the staff have been very receptive to the idea.  They never really know how much they will get or what topic will be covered.  They never really know when they will get the article either.  But they always work with whatever they get!!  Thank you for the space, the freedom to write, and the flexibility to accommodate the information!



The district mission statement includes the phrases, “to be Central Minnesota’s public education standard of excellence” and “making a difference today, to create a better tomorrow.”  These statements are a very appropriate description of our district and our activities—especially within the past school year. 

The 2013-14 school year, as we reviewed at the end of the year gathering with staff, witnessed significant growth and progress in both parts of our mission statement.  The bulk of our academic work has been invested in shaping our core curriculum to reach most of our students.   This is done through examination of the kinds of work in which students are asked to engage and in looking at the strengths each student brings to school.  The academic work is resulting in the ROCORI School District setting the standard for performance in Central Minnesota.  These efforts are helping us to be Central Minnesota’s public education standard of excellence.

We have many talented people working hard every day to make a difference in the lives of others.  The ROCORI School District possesses a very professional staff in all areas of assignment from administrative to teaching to support positions. It is a pleasure and privilege to work with a staff that is talented, dedicated, and effective.  I want to say thank you to our entire staff for the professionalism and commitment to excellence.  Each member of the staff does, indeed, make a difference today and those efforts will allow the creation of a better tomorrow.



It continues to be a great privilege to work with the administrative team in the ROCORI Schools.  These administrators may be seen as they lead the individual buildings or programs.  We have a very seasoned and experienced team of quality individuals who care about the work they do, the people with whom they work, and the success of the teams around them!

Our building principals include Eric Skanson (Cold Spring Elementary School Principal), Shelly Muth (John Clark Elementary Principal and Richmond Elementary Principal), and Mark Jenson (ROCORI Secondary School Principal).  Judy Martinez-Sones (RHS Assistant Principal) and Barry Voight (ROCORI Middle School Assistant Principal) completed their second year of service.

Ken Kraemer (Buildings and Grounds Director), Joel Baumgarten (Activity Director), Mindi Jenson (Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment Director), Michelle Evenson (Director of Business Services), Brian Michalski (Technology) and Mark Grelson (Community Education) are administrators on our team.   

Each of these positions are very important leadership roles in the district.  Our success in the organization of the district, the activity programs, and the academic work across our curriculum would not be possible without the efforts of these administrative team members.

I believe we have a very positive, insightful, and effective administrative core.  Each member of the team works long hours, many days, and brings special qualities to the district.  Thanks to each of you for your contributions.



Another note of thanks is extended to the district office staff for their excellent work during the 2013-2014 school year.  All of the members of the district office staff have done an excellent job in completing responsibilities and handling our duties throughout the year. 

Barb Fuchs serves as Executive Assistant and works directly with me, the demands of my schedule and position, and the responsibilities of the School Board.  Mary Rothstein is a Business Office Assistant who works with purchasing, bill payments and processing of business records.  Ellie Hondl works primarily with issues of personnel and payroll on a daily basis to be sure that employee records are complete and accurate.  Dawn Tschida is a district accountant who works with a variety of business services including critical elements of reporting, maintaining accuracy and completeness of records, and verification of information. 

The duties, tasks and responsibilities accomplished in the district office are complex.  Yet, the work is consistently done at the highest possible level.   It has been a professional pleasure for me to work in a district office that is as effective and efficient as the staff at ROCORI.  Thank you, to each of you, for your dedication, commitment, and performance.



Finally, I need to take time to thank my wife, Julie, and our children for their support.  Although our family activities continue to change with each stage of life, it means a great deal to me to have the support from each member of our family. 

My family continues to be an incredible source of encouragement, strength, hope, and support.  Each member of my family has been very supportive of my role in the district.  Their support allows me to fill my duties as a servant of the district and to extend help to others whenever possible. 

There are often long days in the position of superintendent.  Attendance at meetings, involvement in school or community events, and many of the responsibilities of the position impose upon our personal or family time.  There is often additional time required even when I am at home.  My family has accepted that my position has unique demands. 

To my family, my hope is that I can be a model of professionalism and commitment for each of you as family members.  Your love and respect mean more to me than you will ever know.  I love each of you with all my heart and appreciate all the support you offer!