The new school under construction in Otsego has its first leader.
Former Westwood Elementary Principal Kari Sampson will leave Zimmerman and head south to Otsego as she becomes the face of the new school known so far as the “E-8.”
The early education through grade 8 school, which will be named later this year, is slated to open for the start of the 2017-2018 school year.
Sampson, who has been in the district for more than a decade, has been the leader of Westwood Elementary, a place she was happy to call home for nearly seven years.
“Zimmerman has such a small-town feel to it,” Sampson said in press release from the Elk River Area School District.
“You’re able to build such unique relationships with the people here yet you had the resources you needed and all of the collaboration you could want because you’re part of something bigger, and that’s our district.”
Sampson started her career in District 728 in the classroom, teaching English and Spanish to middle and high school students before joining the district’s curriculum team and eventually becoming a school administrator.
She said she is excited to be with middle school students again and is looking forward to the opportunity of opening a new building.
“It’s a fresh look at things. You can try something new and kind of innovate, set the tone for the future,” she said. “That’s awesome, to have that kind of opportunity.”
She’ll join Principal Chantel Boyer in Otsego, as well as colleagues Heidi Adamson-Baer and Phil Schreifels who lead Hassan and Rogers Elementary on the borders of Rogers, Otsego and St. Michael.
“They’ve told me such great things about the Otsego community, and I think it’s going to be great to work closely together with those two. I’ve been Chantel’s mentor as she’s joined our district and really been able to learn about Otsego as a community over the last few months with her,” Sampson said. She also has background experience in the southern cluster from her days as an administration intern at Rogers High School and serving all schools there as a curriculum specialist.
“It’s going to be great to get going from the ground up,” Sampson said. “And I’m going to miss Westwood, but the school is going to be in really great hands.”
Former Otsego Principal and Director of Teaching and Learning Erin Talley is returning to the district to lead Westwood through the end of the 2016-2017 school year. The search will begin in March to find a permanent replacement at Westwood.
Candidates will be interviewed and the new leader hired to begin his or her new official position on or about July 1, 2017.