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Baumgarn chosen to lead new Lakeland Elementary

Gretchen Baumgarn Submitted photo

WILLMAR — Gretchen Baumgarn, dean of students at Willmar Middle School, has been named principal of the new Lakeland Elementary School.

The school is under construction in southeastern Willmar and is expected to open in the fall.

"I'm very excited," Baumgarn said Tuesday afternoon. "I was very honored to be selected."

Baumgarn has worked in education for 19 years, the last 16 of them in Willmar. She was a middle school communications teacher before she was named dean of students at Kennedy Elementary for the 2012-13 school year. She returned to the middle school in the 2013-14 school year.

Baumgarn said she is looking forward to the new job and to the opportunity to oversee the opening of a new school.

Baumgarn is a Willmar native and taught three years in Forest Lake before she and her husband returned to Willmar.

"I feel I have had a lot of experience and opportunities in the district," she said, and she is glad they decided to return to Willmar. "I've been here for a big part of my career."

Over her years as a dean, she said, she has been able to work with parents and with student discipline. She has also been involved in implementing new programs and participated in administrative training.

Superintendent Jeff Holm said he looked forward to working with Baumgarn in her next role with the district. He said she is well-prepared for her next step.

Baumgarn's experience in the district should be an advantage for her, as she's likely to know some of the families and staff members when the school opens, Holm said.

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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