Denfeld News

March 5, 2010
Duluth News Tribune

Duluth school district appoints principals
By Jana Hollingsworth

Principals for Duluth’s reconfigured high schools were announced Thursday.
Lisa Mitchell-Krocak, currently principal at Central, will remain there next year and move to Denfeld as principal the following year.

Denfeld principal Ed Crawford will move to Duluth East next year, and become Laurie Knapp’s co-principal, where both will remain the following year.

The district also announced that Morgan Park Middle School principal Denise Clairmont will remain where she is next year, and so will Woodland Middle School principal Gina Kleive.

“These are some of our most seasoned leaders in the district, with long tenures,” said Superintendent Keith Dixon. “They know the high schools very well, and I think that’s going to bode well during the transition.”

Central will have two assistant principals: Vance Hopkins, already at Central, and Nathan Glockle, who is moving from East. Denfeld assistant principal Tonya Sconiers will go to East.

The decision to have co-principals at East was made because Dixon expects one to remain longer than the other, he said, and that will make it easier for the other to continue leadership.

“We’re trying to look at a more sustained long-term picture by some of these,” he said.

Crawford, who has been at Denfeld five years, worked at East for 23 years before that. He had mixed feelings Thursday about his move, but said he looks forward to new challenges and beginnings.

“There is such a high amount of community support at Denfeld very unique to this school,” he said. “There is a real allegiance among the alumni association. … I am going to miss that about Denfeld. And the students are a great bunch of students.”

Crawford said he expects many Denfeld teachers will end up at East once everyone is placed this spring, so the move isn’t as sad as it could be. And students are resilient, he said.

“Their focus is to make the transition to Central for one year, and they have been very involved in that,” he said. “For many of those kids, it’s probably more crucial that they have teachers who are going to be at Central who they know and trust. That is going to be the conduit between Denfeld and Central.”

Denfeld activities director Tom Pearson will be at Central next year. He said the announcement Thursday answered “the million-dollar question.”

“It’s the first piece of the puzzle,” he said. “People have been waiting for this decision for several months.”

Now that it’s settled, when the “big fill” happens in the spring, teachers will know where the principals are going to be, he said.

During the big fill, all secondary staff will receive notice of displacement and, as staffing needs become clear, teachers will be able to choose where they want to go primarily based on seniority. Teaching licensure will also be at play.

Pearson was surprised that the Denfeld team didn’t end up at Central, he said, “but both buildings are going to be well-represented by very capable administrators who are going to build relationships with students.”

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