Schools to see shift in administrators

Published 7:18 am Sunday, June 3, 2012

With retirements and other staffing adjustments there have been some changes made to the administration at both Albert Lea High School and Southwest Middle School.

Though staffing won’t be exactly the same, Superintendent Mike Funk said he’s confident the changes will work for students. The shift was needed after Southwest Counselor Jim Munyer’s retirement and the loss of the middle school’s resource officer Jay Crabtree. That left Principal Jean Jordan as the only administrator. Funk presented a plan to the school board that suggested moving John Double, high school activities director and assistant principal, to Southwest to be an assistant principal and middle school activities director.

John Double

“He’s got a great ability to work with kids,” Funk said.

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Moving Double would mean the loss of his work as an assistant principal at the high school, which would be absorbed by the two other assistant principals Johanna Thomas and Marsha Langseth and Principal Al Root. The high school also has two counselors and a school resource officer. Because counselors can’t discipline students, but an assistant principal could, Funk thinks having Double at the school will help Jordan at Southwest. He said he is concerned with the loss of the counselor, and he’ll be asking the school board for approval of a part-time social worker for Southwest. He’d also like to see a full-time hall monitor at both the high school and Southwest.

“It’s just another adult presence,” Funk said.

Chris Chalmers

Double’s work as high school activities director will be handled by Community Education Director Chris Chalmers. This will mean the Community Education offices will be at the high school in fall, so people can still sign up online but signing up at the office would be at the high school instead of at Brookside Education Center. Because of construction work at Brookside the Community Education office will be housed in Lakeview Elementary School during the summer before it moves permanently to the high school in the fall. Classes through Community Education will continue to be held at Brookside, but Chalmers and his staff will need to be at the high school building for his work as activities director.

“Chris has done a nice job with Community Education,” Funk said. “He also has a lot of background in coaching.”

Funk also said Chalmers will transition well into the activities director role since he’s coached different sports before. And while there will still be site supervisors at sporting events, Chalmers won’t be expected to attend all sporting events as activities director.

While Funk’s original proposal to the school board resulted in some cost-savings for the district, the possible additions of a part-time social worker and hall monitors that weren’t part of the original proposal would mostly mean no expense or savings for the district. Funk said he is concerned about the loss of Southwest’s resource officer.

Mike Funk

“This is tough losing a quality guy like Jay,” Funk said.

Because the school paid much less than half his salary, about $15,000, Funk said they didn’t have much say in the matter when the Albert Lea Police Department transferred Crabtree back to patrol. Funk said the school will just plan to call the police department if problems arise.


New union president

Counselor Munyer retired at the end of this school year after 43 years with Albert Lea School District. He had also been the president of the teacher’s union, the Albert Lea Education Association, for the past 10 years. Munyer said he’ll continue to teach psychology at Riverland Community College, which he’s been doing since 1988.

After an election Southwest ALC teacher Al Helgerson was voted in as the new president of the union. He said he’s looking forward to working with the union and said the group does have some goals for the future.

“We’re trying to get the membership more active doing things together and doing things with the community,” Helgerson said.