Redmond, students take first-day ride
GOODHUE — As Goodhue Elementary School students climbed on the school bus after the final bell rang Tuesday afternoon, they were greeted by a tall man in a blue suit.
“Is it OK if I ride the bus home with you guys?” he asked. “How’d it go today?”
Supt. Mike Redmond sat in the front seat. He had spent his morning greeting students as they arrived. The ride home was a chance for him to see how the school bus routes work and a chance to chat with the elementary school students, he said.
“I’m checking both ends of the school day,” Redmond said. “It’s a nice chance to meet parents as students get off the bus. … It’s getting a sense of some of the younger students.”
Redmond officially began work in the district July 1. Tuesday — the first day back to classes for Goodhue students and many other students across Minnesota — was also Redmond’s first day in Goodhue with students in the classrooms.
“It’s great to have the kids back. The building’s full of life and energy today,” he said.
Redmond previously served as the executive director of secondary education for the Stillwater (Minn.) School District. Before that, he taught social studies and economics at Mahtomedi (Minn.) High School and worked as principal at a middle school in the North St. Paul Maplewood Oakdale School District.
This is his first superintendent position.
So far, Redmond said he is settling well into the community and the district. It is considerably smaller than the other school districts he has worked in.
“It’s been good — very healthy, very positive,” Redmond said, adding that he enjoys being able to walk to work and fewer staff means some decision-making processes are easier.
“You can pull all the stakeholders into a room within hours if need be,” he said.
Redmond took over the position that was vacated by Bob Bangtson, who retired at the end of the 2012-13 school year. He said Bangtson, as well as elementary school Principal Mark Opsahl and high school Principal Mike Harvey, were very helpful with his transition.
“I feel very fortunate to have great principals,” Redmond said. “That helps a lot.”
Just two weeks ago, Goodhue School commemorated its 100th anniversary with a celebration that included a ceremony attended by graduates from as early as 1939. Several former students shared stories about everything from using clothespins as sandbox toys to the transitions from blackboards to whiteboards to SMARTboards, the Zumbrota News Record reported.
Redmond said Goodhue’s continued and long-standing support if its school is important.
“It’s one of the reasons I wanted to come here,” Redmond said of the school’s long history. “You want to go to a place that cares about their schools.”
He continued, adding that Goodhue residents have been welcoming to him and his wife — even though they are newcomers.
“You don’t have the shared experience, but people have been really open and willing to share, very kind and generous,” he said. “It’s been great.”