School board chooses two new principals

by Dennis Dalman

Sartell’s two elementary schools will have new principals for the 2014-15 school year.

Last week, the Sartell-St. Stephen School Board selected Kristopher Lynk of Eden Prairie and Sara Nelson of Sartell to become the new principals. Lynk, is the current principal for Eden Lake Elementary School in Eden Prairie. He was chosen to replace Randy Husman at Oak Ridge Elementary School. Nelson, the principal at Madison Elementary School in St. Cloud, was selected as principal of Pine Meadow Elementary School to replace Greg Johnson.

Those are the latest of three major new hires by the Sartell-St. Stephen School District. In April, the board hired Jeff Schwiebert to become the new superintendent to replace Joe Hill, who resigned in 2013.

Johnson has taken a job as superintendent for the Albany School District.  In 2013, Husman announced he has other plans and thus would no longer serve as principal for Oak Ridge Elementary School.

So far, there has been a verbal agreement from the two principals chosen by the board. Formal agreements are expected at the April 21 school-board meeting.


Lynk, whose nickname is “Kip,” was hired in 2012 as principal at Eden Lake Elementary School, one of Eden Prairie’s largest schools with about 900 students and 100 staff serving grades K-6. Before 2012, Lynk was principal for four years with the Bold Elementary School in Bird Island. He has also been a fourth-grade teacher at the Dassel-Cokato Middle School and a sixth-grade teacher at Lakeside Elementary School in the Glencoe-Silver Lake School District.

A graduate of Eden Prairie High School, Lynk earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the University of Minnesota; a master’s degree from St. Mary’s University (Twin Cities), a K-12 administrative licensure also from St. Mary’s University; and a superintendent licensure from St. Cloud State University.

“I am thrilled to be joining the Oak Ridge team as part of Sartell-St. Stephen Public Schools during these exciting times for the district,” Lynk said in a statement to the school board. “I look forward to joining another new principal and a new superintendent as we mesh our talents with the returning staff members from throughout the district. I did not have changing school districts on my radar this year but could not pass up the opportunity to apply with such a strong district in terms of student opportunities, community support and highly qualified staff members. As my family plotted out where in Central Minnesota we would like to be long term, the Sartell-St. Stephen area fit the bill perfectly. I am looking forward to meeting the students, families and staff in the near future.”


Nelson, before serving as the Madison Elementary principal, was assistant principal for three years at Oak Hill Elementary in St. Cloud. She also has extensive experience in working with special education as a school social worker and a special-education supervisor. Nelson has worked with Title I and with implementation of the English Learner program and the Response to Intervention process to advance student achievement. She has also partnered with many area agencies to improve learner outcomes.

Madison Elementary serves grades K-5, with 750 students from many cultural backgrounds and with 15 languages spoken. The school is also home to the Guang Ming Academy of Chinese Immersion. Madison prides itself on celebrating the unique cultures and traditions of students and their families.

“I could not be more excited to be joining the Pine Meadow Elementary family,” Nelson wrote in a statement to the school board. “Having lived in Sartell the past 11 years, and with three children in the Sartell-St. Stephen Schools, I know first hand the excellent teaching and learning that happens here everyday. I look forward to partnering with our district administrative team, PME staff, students, parents and community members to continue the great tradition of academic excellence found in Sartell-St. Stephen Schools.”

Speaking on behalf of the Sartell-St. Stephen School Board, Mike Spanier, interim superintendent, said, “We had an excellent pool of candidates from which to choose. Kip Lynk and Sara Nelson will be excellent additions to the administrative team and our district.”

photo by Paul Groessel, courtesy of Sun Newspapers
Kristopher Lynk greets students on the first day of school 2012 in Eden Prairie, where he is the current principal. Lynk was recently hired as the new principal for Oak Ridge Elementary School starting fall of 2014.

Dennis Dalman

Dennis Dalman

Dalman was born and raised in South St. Cloud, graduated from St. Cloud Tech High School, then graduated from St. Cloud State University with a degree in English (emphasis on American and British literature) and mass communications (emphasis on print journalism). He studied in London, England for a year (1980-81) where he concentrated on British literature, political science, the history of Great Britain and wrote a book-length study of the British writer V.S. Naipaul. Dalman has been a reporter and weekly columnist for more than 30 years and worked for 16 of those years for the Alexandria Echo Press.
Dennis Dalman

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