Jezierski encouraged by district’s workWhen he graduated from Minnesota State University, Mankato with a bachelor’s degree in English and political science, Joe Jezierski thought he knew his next step: law school.
By: Sarah Gorvin, The Republican Eagle
When he graduated from Minnesota State University, Mankato with a bachelor’s degree in English and political science, Joe Jezierski thought he knew his next step: law school.
Jezierski began taking courses at William Mitchell College of Law and, in order to pay the bills, took a paraprofessional job with Robbinsdale, Minn., schools.
“I needed to work while I was going to law school,” he said.
But four months in, Jezierski found himself spending more time on his projects for his job than on his law school work.
“It was pretty clear cut,” he said. “I really found that I liked (teaching) and more importantly, I was good at it.”
Now Jezierski said he plans to bring his passion for teaching to the Red Wing School District as he begins his new position as director of teaching and learning.
Jezierski said he saw the position, previously held by Kathy Radmer, open last spring and sent in his application. Twelve days later, he turned in his resignation letter to Stewartville, Minn., schools.
“I liked the direction (the Red Wing School District) was going,” he said, adding that he was encouraged by the district’s strategic plan and work with professional learning communities.
Previously, Jezierski spent nine years in Forest Lake, Minn., three teaching language arts and six as an assistant principal and activities director. Most recently, he held the positions of middle school principal and director of fine arts in Stewartville.
“I was in charge of the strategic plan,” Jezierski said. “I found that that was really strength areas.”
It’s that experience, Supt. Karsten Anderson said, that made Jezierski a good fit for the position.
“He understands teaching and learning very well and how to make changes happen effectively,” Anderson said. “We knew that he has good experience related to a lot of the things that we’re currently doing. And I think that stems from his experience as a teacher and administrator.”
Jezierski’s first day with Red Wing Schools was Aug. 1. Looking forward, he said he hopes to continue the work with the district’s strategic plan, but also make sure its execution is manageable.
“I think we need to scale back,” he said, adding that research shows doing too much at once makes it difficult to do anything well.
“We have to make sure we’re being consistent,” he said.
Jezierski said he also plans to strengthen the district’s professional learning communities, which allow teachers to work together to increase student improvement.
“I’m a very strong believer in that process,” he said. “We really need to formalize professional learning communities and really make sure we’re focusing on student achievement.”
Another of Jezierski’s goals is to be “out and about” in the schools as much as possible. As a former middle school principal, he said he would really miss getting to interact with students on a regular basis.
“I need to see what’s happening in classrooms to make good decisions with curriculum,” he said.
“He has a really engaging personality and I think he’ll develop really good rapport with staff members and parents,” Anderson added.
Jezierski and his wife, Tricia, are in the process of buying a house in Red Wing. Daughter Erin will attend sixth grade at Twin Bluff Middle School.
Jezierski said making the decision to leave Stewartville was difficult, adding that the town had begun to feel like home.
“But you have to leave home to grow,” he said.
He hopes to feel the same way about Red Wing, and is already encouraged by what he sees.
“I’m exceptionally impressed with the feeling of community in Red Wing,” he said.