Interim Halverson principal excited to serve in new position

Published 8:18 pm Monday, March 20, 2023

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A familiar face is in a new place as Kim Larson is the new interim principal at Halverson Elementary School after district administration asked her if she would be interested and willing to serve in the position.

Larson is replacing Tonya Franks, who left to become interim director of teaching and learning for the district.

“This has been my goal, to be a principal since back in 2017,” she said.

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So far, she said she loved it and was learning new things daily.

“It’s fun to see the smiles on the kids’ faces,” she said. “It’s fun to see the teachers find different solutions for problems, it’s fun to help parents with their questions. I enjoy getting to know the staff.”

Larson had previously served as dean of students at Southwest Middle School, a position she started last August. Before that, she worked as a first-grade teacher at Sibley Elementary as well as with the Distance Learning Academy during the pandemic. She also served as a resource specialist at Sibley last school year. Prior to that, she served as a teacher since 2006.

She said she thought her experiences helped to communicate effectively with parents, students, families and staff.

And she’s learning more about budgets, including the different codes and what they’re used for.

“That’s been a huge learning curve,” she said.

One new challenge, particularly as it related to a growth mindset, was learning the Halverson way and how things were done at the elementary school, as all schools do things a little differently.

“We all follow the same basic guidelines, but then there’s different parts that make each school unique,” she said.

Learning those components has been fun and exciting, she said.

Larson particularly noted the ways schools held assemblies, learning the different ways and times parents preferred to be notified of activities to increase parent involvement, the ways to notify parents regarding information, communicating with teachers and getting to know people on individual levels, which she said made the job more fun.

“It’s exciting for me to learn more about the staff, the teachers, the families and the students to help meet their needs — to help them all be successful and bridge communication between all,” she said.

Another difference between serving as dean of students and being a principal was helping teachers to improve. Some may have questions or others may have challenges they are looking for help with.

“They’ll talk about, ‘I have a question about this,’ or ‘This is a challenge for me, do you have any ideas how to help me with this?’” she said. “So brainstorming, problem-solving definitely.”

During her teaching career, she worked in classes from kindergarten to sixth grade.

Larson, who is from Forest Lake, has two adult children. She has a labradoodle and in her free time loves to garden and bake.

“I’m very grateful for this opportunity to be the interim principal at Halverson,” she said, while adding she’s considering applying for the full-time position.