Albert Lea school principals play musical chairs

Published 10:18 am Monday, September 8, 2014

Administrators shuffle positions 

A number of administration changes have come to Albert Lea Area Schools with the coming of the new school year.

There are three new principals to the district, though two of those principals held other positions in the district before this year.

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Nick Sofio is the new principal of Lakeview Elementary School after being the principal at Halverson Elementary School for two years. Sofio replaces Mike Fugazzi, who took a position in South St. Paul Public Schools.

Johanna Thomas is the new principal at Halverson, replacing Sofio. Thomas left an assistant principal position at Albert Lea High School.

The third new principal is Mark Grossklaus, principal of the high school. Grossklaus came from the St. Paul Conservatory for Performing Arts and replaces Jim Wagner, who went to become a superintendent in Kimball.

Two assistant principal positions at the high school opened up with Thomas becoming the principal of Halverson and Marsha Langseth retiring. Langseth earlier in her career had been principal at Southwest Middle School.

Nicky Severtson, former assistant principal at the Albert Lea Area Learning Center, is now an assistant principal at the high school. Jeff Halverson, former director of secondary programs for the district, fills the other assistant principal position.

With all of the moves in the district, one administrative position was cut, and that was the assistant principal position at the ALC, Superintendent Mike Funk said. That position, formerly held by Severtson, has been backfilled by Kathy Niebuhr as head teacher.

Niebuhr is not a formal administrator, Funk said, and she is overseen by the directors in the building. The ALC and school administrative offices are both at Brookside Education Center.

Finally, the district finds a new special education director in Sarah Kloeckl, who comes from Burnsville. Kloeckl replaces Keith Erickson, who was the special education director since 1991 and retired after the last school year.