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Class Act

Star Tribune writers tracking education issues

Edina superintendent announces departure

Ric Dressen will step down as the head of Edina Public Schools after 11 years. The school board discussed the search for the new superintendent during a school board meeting Monday.

Dressen has announced that this school year will be his last as superintendent for the district. Dressen will serve until June 30.  

"I have been humbled to serve in this leadership position and have been fortunate to work in a community that places young people and their future through education as the top priority," Dressen said in a news release.  "I have been honored to work with amazing administrators, tremendous teachers, superb staff, positive parents and a caring community to pursue the dreams and hopes of learners of all ages."

Dressen’s career in education all started in Annandale about 40 years ago when he became an elementary teacher. Dressen then went on to spend seven years as the superintendent of Alexandria and seven years helming the Waconia School District before moving to his post in Edina. From 2003-2004, Dressen ran the statewide Minnesota Education Finance Reform Task Force under former Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s recommendation.

Since taking on his Edina post in 2006, Dressen has tackled numerous tasks including the approval of the district’s $124.9 million bond referendum, which funded facility updates and incorporated personalized learning into the district.

Dressen has also led the Superintendency Institute, a consortium of superintendents and served as the University of St. Thomas Board of Engineering director.  

"I cannot imagine a more rewarding career than education," Dressen said in a release. "While I have not yet landed on what is next, I know that it will always involve teaching and learning in some capacity.”

Edina Public Schools will begin the selection process for a search firm this week. 

Visitation School removes coed option from middle school

No boys will be allowed at the Visitation School’s coed catholic middle school in Mendota Heights next year.

Minnesota’s only all-girl’s Catholic school will change its coed sixth grade into an all-girls class. The Catholic school is currently an all-girls school from seventh through 12th grade. 

Visitation's Lower School from pre-kindergarten through fifth grade will remain coed while its sixth grade will make the shift out of coed at the middle school level. 

Saint Thomas Academy will create a sixth grade to accommodate boys from the Visitation School.

Since 1873, Visitation has functioned as an all-girls school. In 1974, the Lower School began adding coed classes.

“We look forward to expanding the benefits of single-gender education to sixth grade in the coming year and beyond – and to continuing our close collaboration with Saint Thomas Academy,” Visitation Head of School Rene Gavic said in a news release.