A Forest Lake junior high now has a familiar face in its top job while the South Washington County School District has tapped three newcomers to fill assistant principal slots at two of its high schools, under personnel moves announced this month.

Scott Geary, assistant principal for eight years at Southwest Junior High School in Forest Lake, was named the school’s principal on July 10.

“I am truly honored and excited to lead Southwest Junior High to the next level in student achievement,” Geary said in a news release. A Kansas City, Kan., native, Geary began his career as a science teacher in the Robbinsdale School District.

The South Washington County District chose two new leaders for Woodbury High and one for Park High in Cottage Grove.

At Woodbury High, Mark Canton, a school administrator for the past 14 years in Big Lake, and Chai Lee, an assistant principal at Inver Grove Heights Middle School, will serve as the school’s new assistant principals. They replace Rob Bach and Todd Herber, who accepted principal positions in the Stillwater and Red Wing districts, respectively.

Said Canton, “To help ensure students are successful, I believe students need to feel connected to their school community. I am very committed to utilizing data and technology to improve learning and build character.”

In addition to his work in Inver Grove Heights, Lee also served for three years as assistant principal at Patrick Henry High in Minneapolis, where he is credited with helping to reduce suspensions and increase graduation rates, a South Washington County news release said.

At Park High, Jonathan Hunt, education director for the state Department of Corrections, was chosen to replace Sarah Sorenson-Wagner as assistant principal. Sorenson-Wagner is now principal at Woodbury High. In the state job, Hunt initiated a pilot program to increase the use of technology in instruction. He also has served as an administrative team member and special-education teacher at the St. Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists, a downtown charter school.

“I have the varied experience that broadens my perspective on student learning and ability to tackle complex school issues,” he said in a news release.


Two students win in final Merit Scholarships round

Two Woodbury residents — Jacob Knupp, who graduated this year from East Ridge High, and Thomas Washburn, who was home-schooled — were named last week as National Merit Scholarship winners. Knupp plans to study biology at Washington University in St. Louis. Washburn is likely to pursue a mathematics career at the University of Minnesota.

The announcement was the last of four by the National Merit Scholarship Corp. and involved annual college-sponsored awards of between $500 and $2,000.

Anthony Lonetree