After a series of departures, East Ridge High School in Woodbury has a new leadership team in place for the 2015-16 school year.
The final pieces came together recently when Jim Smokrovich, the school’s new principal, selected Rob Danneker and Joel Olson from a list of nearly 200 applicants to serve as assistant principal and activities director, respectively, a South Washington County School District news release said.
Danneker and Olson will join two other assistant principals, Todd Hochman and Ashley Ruka, in the top ranks of the 1,837-student school that has been forced to cope with setbacks that included the resignation nine months ago of former principal Aaron Harper.
Harper quit amid a police investigation for alleged public misconduct and since has been charged with felony theft by swindle.
This summer, East Ridge forfeited all of its football wins in 2013 and 2014 after the district learned that a player didn’t live at a residence listed on paperwork provided by his family. Jon Hinzman, then the school’s activities director, resigned his post effective June 30.
In the district’s news release, Smokrovich, who most recently served as principal of Grand Rapids (Minn.) High School, said he was inspired by the new leadership team’s potential and excited for “our school, our staff, our community and most of all our student body.” He pledged to enhance communication throughout the organization and with families.
Danneker, a native of West St. Paul, played a pivotal role in the rollout of a 1:1 technology program at Sauk Rapids-Rice High School, the South Washington County district said.
Olson is in his second year with the district after serving as a special education teacher and golf coach in 2014-15. He served previously as activities director at Forest Lake Area High School.
Hochman was assistant principal at Park High in Cottage Grove in 2014-15 and held a variety of positions within the St. Paul School District.
Ruka was student achievement specialist at East Ridge in 2014-15 and previously taught math at Cottage Grove and Lake middle schools.
District Superintendent Keith Jacobus was quoted saying the team included “experienced, passionate educators who are sure to provide a motivational, comprehensive learning experience for East Ridge High School students.”
White Bear Lake
Retired teachers top primary vote count
A pair of retired teachers were the top finishers in the primary election for White Bear Lake school board seats.
Six candidates will compete for the three seats being vacated by current members Chris Hiniker, Cathy Storey and Lori Swanson.
Ellen Fahey, 61, who taught in the White Bear Lake school district, and Scott A. Wilson, 62, who taught in the Fridley district, finished atop the Aug. 11 ballot with 19.8 percent and 16.5 percent of the votes, respectively.
Also advancing to the Nov. 3 general election were Margaret Newmaster at 15.15 percent, Bob Shevik at 14.6 percent, Leslie Sieleni at 8.25 percent and Nathan H. Nelson at 8.1 percent. Four other candidates failed to make the cut.
Shevik, 52, is a former White Bear Lake board member who lost a re-election bid in 2013.
Newmaster, 66, is a media specialist at the north campus of White Bear Lake Area High School.
Sieleni, 50, is a district parent and a former Arc Minnesota volunteer of the year.
Nelson, 27, is a White Bear Lake Area High graduate who wants to bring a youth perspective to the board, his website states.