New principals have been named at Woodbury and Stillwater high schools, and both leaders cite experience in the South Washington County School District as crucial to their administrative careers.

Rob Bach, selected to lead Stillwater Area High School, has spent his entire 22 years as an educator in South Washington County.

"I have treasured my experience with the students, parents and staff of District 833," he said in a statement on the district's website. "I leave secure in the knowledge that amazing things are happening for our students and thankful for the opportunity to have served in such a dynamic place."

Bach most recently served as an assistant principal at Woodbury High after previous stints as a science teacher, head volleyball coach and assistant principal at Park High in Cottage Grove.

Of his new job, he said in a Stillwater schools news release: "I was drawn to Stillwater because of the tight-knit community that exists here. Because of that the high school has stature within the community that is unique … I'm humbled by the idea that the community thinks I'll be a good fit."

At Woodbury High, Sarah Sorenson-Wagner, currently an assistant principal at Park, has been chosen to replace Linda Plante, who is retiring.

Sorenson-Wagner started with the district in 2000 as a teacher of deaf and hard-of-hearing students and served four years as an assistant principal at Woodbury High before moving to Park.

In a district news release, she said that as a former special-education teacher "it is ingrained in me to advocate for all students and seek creative ways to ensure every student is successful."

She also credited Plante with being a mentor.


Familiar leader back in charge of schools

Tom Nelson, who served as interim superintendent of the Stillwater public schools in 2010-11, will return again as interim leader during the 2014-15 school year.

He replaces Corey Lunn, who is leaving this month after three years to become schools chief of the Johnston Community School District in Iowa.

Nelson, who previously led the South Washington County School District, will be paid $165,000 in 2014-15, just less than the $168,100 that Lunn was being paid in the final year of his three-year contract.

The school district said in a news release that Nelson's one-year contract will save the district money on the benefits side of the compensation equation because he does not need health insurance coverage through the district.

In the three years since Nelson last led the district, the Stillwater School District has enacted a "Bridge to Excellence" strategic plan and secured voter approval of a new, expanded operating levy.


Three students among scholarship winners

The latest round of National Merit Scholarship winners included three students from Woodbury.

The awards, the third in a series to be presented this year, covered scholarships of between $500 and $2,000 that are to be financed annually by colleges and universities.

Additional recipients of college-sponsored scholarships are expected to be included in the final announcement on July 14.

The Woodbury residents set to receive the awards announced last Wednesday include two students — Anna Bearrood and Christian Yonkoski — from East Ridge High School and one student, Zachariah Rogness, from New Life Academy.

Bearrood plans to study actuarial science at St. Olaf College while Yonkoski is likely to study electrical engineering at the University of Minnesota.

Rogness is weighing a career in mechanical engineering and plans to attend the University of Minnesota.

Anthony Lonetree