A south metro school leader who was singled out by her Minnesota peers for a national honor in 2009 has been named the new principal of Pine Hill Elementary School in Cottage Grove.

Stacy DeCorsey will replace Kevin Samsel, who is retiring.

Four years ago, while serving as principal of Jordan Elementary, DeCorsey was chosen by the Minnesota Elementary School Principals' Association as the state's "national distinguished principal," an award given by the U.S. Department of Education and National Association of Elementary School Principals.

"Mrs. DeCorsey truly represents the qualities embodied in an excellent, authentic leader," Matt Hillmann, then the principal of Chatfield Elementary in Belle Plaine, said at the time. "She has been an excellent resource and mentor for me — a young principal in a neighboring district."

At Jordan Elementary, DeCorsey started a program called Blessings in a Backpack, through which students who qualified for free and reduced school lunches were sent home on Fridays with healthy food. She also worked with the Hispanic community to help raise funds for summer programming.

Dave Bernhardson, assistant superintendent for elementary education in the South Washington County School District, said in a news release that he believed DeCorsey would fill her new position with optimism and proven leadership success.

She begins work for South Washington County on July 1.

That same day, Ron Meyer, transportation coordinator for the Eden Prairie Schools, also will take over as South Washington County's new director of transportation.

According to a South Washington County news release, Meyer played a major role in developing Eden Prairie's school start and end times, working closely with the state Department of Education and State Patrol.

In 2013-14, South Washington County will be lengthening the bus service boundaries for middle-school students in an effort to reduce transportation costs.


East Ridge students notch science credits

Four years ago, East Ridge High introduced a biomedical science program offering college level courses. Five students went on to complete all four offerings, the South Washington County School District announced recently.

The quintet was part of an initial group of 53 students. Now the program has more than 235 students, the district said.

Activities have included the dissection of a heart and exploration into the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases.

The district said the five students have earned college credits and a biomedical certificate of completion. Each plans to study biomedical sciences in college.

They are Drew Del Toro, who will study biology and pre-medicine at Santa Clara University; Kelsey Bria, who will study biomedical science at Washington University in St. Louis; Brittany Olsen, who will study neonatology at the University of Minnesota, Rochester; Ian Penvose, who plans to study biomedical science at Northeastern University; and Libby Witte, who will study biology at the University of Minnesota.

Lake Elmo

Students take home books for summer

A group of more than 35 junior and senior high students belonging to a local Leo Club organized a book drive that allowed every Lake Elmo Elementary student to take a book home for the summer, the Stillwater Area Public Schools said.

The Leos, affiliated with Lions Clubs International, asked community members to donate gently used books, and collected more than 1,000 of them.

Books also were distributed in the nearby Cimarron Park mobile home area, the district said.

Anthony Lonetree