Halverson Elem. principal to retire

Published 11:00 am Thursday, June 10, 2010

The principal of Halverson Elementary School in Albert Lea is retiring after 19 years on the job.

“I don’t have any plans, but I have tons of hobbies,” Del Stein said.

He wants to do more photography, biking and studying German. He also looks forward to traveling in Europe with his wife, Kaye. He said one of his favorite things about working at Halverson was the people.

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“I have very pleasant people to work with,” Stein said.

He knew that 2009-10 would be his last school year working at Halverson and said it has been a rewarding final year.

“This has been a very good year,” Stein said.

He said one of the things he’s most proud of is the atmosphere at Halverson. He said there’s a central concern for the students and their well-being, as well as the well-being of their family.

“Being a part of that is really satisfying,” Stein said.

Though he enjoyed the staff at Halverson, he said he would certainly miss all the kids as well.

“You don’t spend 37 years working with kids and not miss them when you leave,” Stein said.

Stein was an elementary school teacher in North Dakota before becoming a principal in western Minnesota and North Dakota. Then in 1991 he got the principal job in Albert Lea and said he thinks it’s a great place to live.

“It’s a beautiful place to work and live,” Stein said. “There’s a caring the Albert Lea School District has that you don’t see everywhere.”

He also said that he thinks the Albert Lea School District is an ideal place because of the amount of support he and other teachers have received from each other and from the school board. He also doesn’t understand what people don’t like about the city of Albert Lea.

“If you don’t think that Albert Lea is a great community, you’ve been here too long and you’ve never been any place else,” Stein said.

Stein’s focus as principal was to work with and evaluate teachers, which he liked because he was able to keep teaching in a way. He also thinks that Halverson has been wrongly judged by the community.

“The entire time I’ve been here Halverson has been viewed by many in the community as a rough school,” Stein said. “It’s not understood by the community the kind of quality we have in staff, students and parents.”

He said the school serves many families who struggle, but that when the families work through their problems it speaks highly of their character and work ethic.

“It’s just a very wonderful school,” Stein said.

He spoke highly of his staff of teachers and aides who help students and each other, and staff members said they will miss working with Stein.

“He was a great man to work with,” secretary Linda Mickelson said. “We will all miss him.”

Other staff spoke of the fact that he didn’t badger them about their work duties.

“He trusted and respected you to do your job,” custodian Greg McKane said.

Stein said ever since he started this job he felt he was lucky, and that’s never changed.

“When I started this job in 1991, I had the feeling I won the lottery and that feeling has never left me,” Stein said.