ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Willmar superintendent talks to staff about maintaining work-life balance in annual welcome

The staff of Willmar Public Schools gathered Thursday morning for the annual kickoff to the school year. Superintendent Jeff Holm talked to them about staying healthy, and also about his plans to retire in two years. Staff also met new Assistant Superintendent Bill Adams.

Employees of Willmar Public Schools packed the auditorium at the Willmar Education and Arts Center Thursday morning. The traditional gathering kicks off the school year. The district has more than 900 employees. Classes for its more than 4,000 students begin next week.
Employees of Willmar Public Schools packed the auditorium Thursday morning at the Willmar Education and Arts Center. The traditional gathering kicks off the school year. The district has more than 900 employees. Classes for its more than 4,000 students begin next week.
Linda Vanderwerf / West Central Tribune
We are part of The Trust Project.

WILLMAR — Superintendent Jeff Holm on Thursday talked to Willmar Public Schools employees about maintaining balance in their lives and told them about his plans to retire in two years.

Most of the district’s employees packed the auditorium at the Willmar Education and Arts Center for the district’s annual staff welcome gathering. Willmar Public Schools employs more than 900 people, about 340 of them teachers, according to the district website.

The Willmar Senior High School choir 2701 opened the program with "Lovely Day," by Bill Withers. The refrain says, “Just one look at you, and I know it’s gonna be a lovely day.”

Jeff.Holm
Willmar Superintendent Jeff Holm
Contributed / Willmar Public Schools

Holm and Assistant Superintendent Bill Adams spoke to the staff members and thanked them all for being there.

“It’s incredibly hard to find good people, and you are good people,” Holm said.

ADVERTISEMENT

He thanked them for the work they’ve done to prepare for students’ arrival next week and for their work to come during the school year.

102321.IMPACT.WCT.SchoolTech.Adams.jpg
Willmar Assistant Superintendent Bill Adams
Related:
Five Ridgewater programs took their shows on the road to Buffalo Lakes-Hector-Stewart High School. Fifty Marshall High School students also explored automotive classes at the Ridgewater campus.
Education Minnesota, the state's largest education union, sponsors the annual Teacher of the Year honor. Three area teachers are among the 131 candidates announced this week.
News about educational achievements among students from west central Minnesota.
The students of the month for December 2022 at Willmar Middle School

“I want you to set some boundaries and be healthy,” Holm said in his annual talk about work-life balance.

People need rest, exercise and relationships outside of work, he said.

“If we don’t create some boundaries that allow us to have those things in our life, I’m convinced you can’t give your students your very best,” he said. “When you’re at work, I need you to be your best ... to be well.”
It’s OK to not answer work messages that arrive after work hours, he said, adding, “You are not expected to be checking messages around the clock.”

Holm spoke to the staff about staying home when they are sick, something that can be difficult for dedicated people.

Holm thanked the staff members who willingly filled in for ill co-workers in the last year when substitute teachers were scarce. He asked them to do everything they could to prevent absences that were not related to illness, because it’s still difficult to find subs.
Holm also talked about his plan to retire in June 2024.

“I know I look much too young for it,” he said to chuckles from the staff. When he retires, he will have worked in Willmar nine years and have worked in education 39 years.

“That presents new opportunities for the district with fresh leadership,” he said.

ADVERTISEMENT

To avoid abrupt changes in a transition, the School Board approved hiring an assistant superintendent, he said.

Adams introduced himself to the group with a slideshow about his childhood in Janesville and his path to Willmar. Adams is a former superintendent at New London-Spicer Schools, and he was hired to serve two years in the new position.

More from LINDA VANDERWERF
Retiring president of the Willmar Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce Ken Warner says he has enjoyed his time working for the Willmar business community.
The daily average of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Minnesota jumped from a 378-case daily average to 760 cases a day in one week. Deaths have also increased to a daily average of 11 deaths a day.
Retiring president of the Willmar Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce Ken Warner says he has enjoyed his time working for the Willmar business community.
COVID-19 isn't gone in Minnesota, but hospitalizations and deaths are lower in the latest state update. About 120 fewer people were in hospitals this week than in the week before.
The state reported an average of 500 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 per day last week and an average of nine deaths per day. The case average was lower, but the average daily deaths was higher.
Breaking News
Prosecution errors freed Thomas Rhodes from prison and overturned his murder convictions Friday. A memo found in the prosecution's files last year contributed to his release.
People who have symptoms or have been exposed to someone with symptoms should get tested for COVID-19. Minnesota is ready to send four free tests for anyone who wants them.
Falling enrollment for Willmar Public Schools is likely to lead to budget cuts before the start of the 2023-24 school year. The School Board began the process with adopting a resolution Monday night.
A drop in enrollment is leading the Willmar School Board to ask its administrators to look at ways to reduce spending for the next school year.
What happens when the state of Minnesota allows only five e-learning days and some schools have used their last one in the first week of January? It could lead to some old-fashioned snow days.

If the board and Adams are pleased with the arrangement, he may be the next superintendent when Holm retires.

Adams’ parents were farmers and later owned a video store and a restaurant. His father was a carpenter, too. Adams worked in all those businesses and realized they weren’t for him, though he was grateful for the experience, he said.

His parents taught him that “hard work and dedication are what you need to get the job done,” he said. Other opportunities in his teen years showed him that he wanted to be an educator.

Adams said he was grateful for the staff members at the gathering.

“Without each and every one of you in this room, regardless of your role, the relationships you build with students and the impact you have on kids on a daily basis is something I truly admire and appreciate,” he said.

In 42 years in the newspaper industry, Linda Vanderwerf has worked at several daily newspapers in Minnesota, including the Mesabi Daily News, now called the Mesabi Tribune in Virginia. Previously, she worked for the Las Cruces Sun-News in New Mexico and the Rapid City Journal in the Black Hills of South Dakota. She has been a reporter at the West Central Tribune for nearly 27 years.

Vanderwerf can be reached at email: lvanderwerf@wctrib.com or phone 320-214-4340
What To Read Next
A 19-year-old Montevideo man was taken to St. Cloud Hospital Friday morning following a crash in which he was a passenger.
A 19-year-old Willmar woman was transported to CentraCare — Rice Memorial Hospital after the vehicle she was driving crashed with a semi on Minnesota Highway 7 in East Lake Lillian Township.
Minneapolis artist Gregory Rose in a visit to Willmar shared how art can be a way to confront trauma, build community and look different at the world.
A Netherlands-based business is looking to build a hemp processing facility in Kandiyohi County or the region. There could also be an opportunity for farmers to plant a hemp crop this season for the company.