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Nathan Cox selected to be the new principal at Roosevelt Elementary School

WILLMAR -- Nathan Cox has been chosen to be the new principal at Roosevelt Elementary School in Willmar.

Cox has been the dean of students at Roosevelt for six years. He was among five candidates interviewed to succeed Patti Dols, who is retiring.

Superintendent Jerry Kjergaard said the School Board will consider Cox's contract at the June 13 board meeting.

"Nate rose to the top" during interviews, Kjergaard said. "I'm looking forward to working with him." An advantage for Cox is that he's used to the large school, with 900 students in grades K-5.

Cox said he was offered the job about two weeks ago.

"I am thrilled to be able to continue my education career in a community I've grown to love," he said. He looks forward to working with "a staff that craves to do the best for kids."

One of his first tasks will be to choose a new dean of students, Cox said. He hopes to have that done in the next few weeks.

He'll also be working to complete room assignments for the coming school year.

"There's no doubt a building this large has some unique challenges," he said, but it also offers opportunities for students.

The Roosevelt school is a contrast to the tiny rural school district Cox attended in northwest Kansas.

Cox's high school graduating class in Norton, Kan., had 15 students in it. "It was a great place to grow up," he said.

Cox came to Minnesota to attend Bethel University and he met his wife Traci there. She is a Willmar native, and they eventually gravitated to this area. He taught elementary school in New London-Spicer before coming to Willmar as a dean of students. Traci Cox teaches at Willmar Senior High.

Cox said he feels ready for the challenge of leading a large school like Roosevelt. He said the transition will be eased because Dols "had this place running like a well-oiled machine."

Cox said he is a strong believer in the K-5 elementary school model Willmar implemented two years ago. "We can make a building a home for six years," he said. "I'm looking forward to continuing the family connection and growth."

Linda Vanderwerf

I cover education issues for the West Central Tribune and have worked for the paper since 1995. I have worked in journalism since 1981.

Follow me on Twitter: @lindavanderwerf

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