(Updated): New Lake Mills superintendent ‘humbled’ to be selected for job

Published 2:57 pm Thursday, April 14, 2022

Chris Rogne has been appointed as the new superintendent for the Lake Mills Community School District and will start his new position July 1.

Chris Rogne

The Lake Mills school board worked with Grundmeyer Leader Services in conducting the search for a superintendent. The process involved a community-wide survey and asking district residents to give input on qualities and characteristics they wanted in the district’s next leader. Final interviews between the board and three finalists were Tuesday. 

“I’m very fortunate to be selected there and be their superintendent, and I’m very humbled and honored that I’m their chosen candidate,” Rogne said.

He described the process as going fast, but said he had a good feeling from the initial interview.

“Not so much about how I performed in the interview, but I had a great feeling from the people I met,” he said. “The pride of their school and community and what they’re offering in Lake Mills.”

He also described the system as great and having opportunities for students and professionals.

“Thinking about all that, when I was presented the offer, I obviously talked it over with my family when I was presented the offer … I’m not going to say it’s an easy decision because I really like the situation I’m currently in,” he said. “But it was the right decision and right opportunity for myself and my family at this time. So it was easy to say yes and accept that job.”

He described his leadership style as similar to coaching a team, situationally.

“Every situation needs to be addressed differently because different people respond in different ways,” he said. “Also, I guess as a coach it felt like we had a game plan and goals for the season and things like that. But it was a little different each year depending on what kind of players you had and who’s playing. So you’d have to adapt your game plan and treat things situationally.”   

He calls himself a participative, even-keeled leader willing to jump in and help when needed, and he wants to get the best people in the best situations to succeed.  

Two of his goals upon taking over are listening and meeting people.

“I want to ask people what we want to keep doing and if there’s anything that they feel like we need to stop doing and see what people want to start doing,” he said.

Rogne started his career as a physical education teacher in southern Iowa before moving to Ventura, Iowa, and teaching fifth- through eighth-grade PE, coached a variety of sports and served as an athletic director.

Prior to Crestwood, he worked at West Fork Community School District in Rockwell, Iowa, as an administrator for two years. Before that, he served as a technology teacher and as an alternative education instructor.

“Coaching and teaching in the Ventura and the West Fork districts, we would cross paths and come up to Lake Mills and coach teams,” he said. “… had a great experience every time I was there. People were classy, things were neat and well-kept there all the time and it was just always a good experience going there.” 

His current duties at Crestwood Secondary School include managing two buildings — Crestwood Junior High and Crestwood High School and the approximately 585 students in seventh to 12th grades in a variety of capacities. He also works with 60 staff members.

He described himself as being genuine and authentic, and admitted he wouldn’t always get things right but said he works hard for students and the community.

“I’m just a piece of the team and I’m there to help any way I can,” he said.

Rogne grew up in Iowa and graduated in Cresco. He enjoys baseball and played in college.

When off the clock, he enjoys learning new things, spending time with family and following the Minnesota Twins. He and his wife, Courtney, have been married 18 years and have three children.

Rogne holds a master’s degree from Drake University and a bachelor’s from Wartburg College.

He will replace the departing Chad Kohagen, who in February was named the next superintendent at Jesup Community Schools.

Rogne currently serves as principal at Crestwood Secondary School in the Howard-Winneshiek Community School District. During his time at Crestwood Secondary School, he established a secondary parent advisory committee to allow families to share their input and feedback on school leaders.

“My first college experience was at Waldorf [University] in Forest City, so that brought me to the central Iowa area,” he said. “When I was there I met some people from Lake Mills, and there was just something different about the amount of pride they carried for their school and their community.”