PERHAM — During the 2022-23 school year, new but familiar faces will be seen in the principal’s office at Heart of the Lakes Elementary School and Prairie Wind Middle School.
Beginning this summer, Jim Kennedy will be the new principal of Prairie Wind Middle School and Mike Kunza will be the new principal of Heart of the Lakes Elementary School. Both attended the school board meeting on the evening of Wednesday, June 8, where their contracts were approved by the board.
“I’m still a little in disbelief, but I’m extremely excited to have the opportunity to be the leader of this building,” Kennedy said in a school district press release. ” I am excited to begin. I know I have some ins and outs that I need to work on, and there’s a lot of orientation that will need to take place, but I’m very excited.
Members of the community may recognize Kennedy as he moved to Perham in the 2000s to teach physical education. He held this position for about six years before becoming Student Success Coordinator at Perham Secondary School and then Dean of Students.
He expressed his gratitude for his new position at the school board meeting.
Community members may also recognize Mike Kunza, who was born and raised in Perham. He spent about 16 years teaching at St. Paul’s before becoming its principal. Subsequently, he moved to teach at Heart of the Lakes and later became the dean of students.
“For every child who is in school, we want to provide the best education possible,” Kunza said in a school district news release. “We want to give everyone a sense of belonging at school. We want people to know that we are student-centered and that everything we do is about our children.
At the board meeting, he said the opportunity to take on a leadership role had been beyond humbling. It’s been a surreal experience for him, and he’s looking forward to it.
Also discussed at the meeting:
- The college’s former principal, Scott Bjerke, has been reassigned to the position of dean of students.
The renovation of the kitchen at Heart of the Lakes Elementary School is underway. The district hopes it will be finished by the start of the 2022-23 school year. Construction of the gymnasium floor at Perham Secondary School is also underway and will soon be completed.
- The summer school started on June 6. About 70 students are present and the goal for the summer is to recover at least 100 lessons.
- Enrollment landed at 1,525 students, 26 more than the initial projection for the school year.
- While the school district was not originally qualified to provide summer meals, a group of community members came together to sponsor the summer meals program. They will reimburse the school for the cost of food. Throughout June, the program will operate Monday through Thursday at Prairie Wind Middle School from noon to 1 p.m. Lunch should be taken in middle school. Plans for July and August are still in progress.
- The board approved a preliminary budget for the 2022-2023 school year.
- The next school board meeting will be Wednesday, July 13 at 5:00 p.m. at the Perham High School Media Centre.