SARTELL -- The Sartell-St. Stephen school district welcomed some new leaders to three of their school buildings.

Julia Bjerke, Shayne Kusler and Angela Safran started their new roles as principal at the beginning of the month.

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Bjerke is the new principal at Oak Ridge Early Learning Center. She says the role felt like a natural fit after spending the last few years working in the same building as the district's Early Childhood Coordinator.

This is work that is all in all the time as you guide our learners in their first years of school. I think having a good knowledge of that work helps me support our staff and communicate with families what their child's experience will be.

Bjerke says new this year the district is adding a full day preschool section and has hired a new Early Childhood Coordinator to help develop some new innovating programming.

Safran comes to the district after spending nearly 14-years in the Holdingford school district. She says she welcomes the new opportunity and is excited for the enthusiasm a new group of students will bring.

I'm looking forward to the energy, especially from the 6th graders in the building. In my prior district everyone knew who I was and what to expect so here we all get to learn about each other and that's exciting.

Safran says right now she's focusing on learning the daily operations that comes with a new building and familiarizing herself with the overall expectations the district has set for students and staff.

Before becoming principal of Sartell-St. Stephen High School, Kusler was the principal of Foley High School since 2014. He says like with any new job there is a learning curve, but the staff has helped make it a smooth transition.

For me the biggest thing right now is learning as much as I can. Getting information out to staff and open those lines of communication. We have a few things that we are trying to work on quickly to get ready for the school year so I'm really counting on those people who have been here and know what we need to do.

Kusler says they are expecting some great things happening this school year and he's excited to help guide students to reach their full potential.

The new school year will begin on September 6th.


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