Stephen Jones started his new position as the superintendent of Little Falls Schools July 1. He replaced Curt Tryggestad who took the superintendent’s position in Eden Prairie.
“I have spent the first six weeks meeting staff and community members,” he said. “My door is open and many people have been stopping by.”
Jones said he is very impressed with the school staff in Little Falls.
“This is from both the human and the educational standpoint. They care deeply about the school and the students,” he said. “They were not shy about telling me where the district is good and where it needs help.”
Jones comes from a three-year superintendent position in the Sibley East District, Sibley County and the towns of Gaylord and Green Isle. Prior to that, he was the high school principal and superintendent for four years at Murray County Central in Southwestern Minnesota.
Jones graduated from high school in Dallas, Pa., in 1977, and then spent a year in Villahermosa, Tabasco, Mexico as an exchange student.
Upon his return to the United States, he went to Southwestern State University in Marshall where he pursued first a degree in hotel administration, then a communications degree. He also played baseball for the university.
When he graduated with his degree, Jones worked for KMHL radio in Marshall as a sports broadcaster, in sales, and more.
“In the 1990s, I purchased clothing stores in Tracy and ran them until 2000. During that time, I went back to school, taking 102 credits in two years, graduating with a teaching degree,” he said. “In 1998, when my final exam was scheduled, my wife Kristin decided to have a baby. I got out of taking the exam.”
Jones got his first job in Tracy as an English teacher. He taught speech and literature and, in his spare time, started the Panther Television Network for the school.
“We had a noon broadcast which was a lot of fun,” he said. “The students loved it. Each day we would meet at 7 a.m. to write the daily show.”
Jones also coached track, cross country and speech.
In 2001, he received his degree in school administration from the University of South Dakota in Vermillion.
Jones’ first administrative job was in Maple River, near Mankato, as the principal.
“I chose to come to Little Falls because it seemed to be a town I would like to move my family to,” he said. “I wasn’t looking for another job, but the search consultant contacted me. I did some research and the more I looked at Little Falls, the more I liked what I saw.”
Jones said the fact that so many teachers in the Little Falls District actually grew up here and came back to teach speaks very highly for the district and the community.
Jones is married to Kristin and has four children. David, 23, is on his second deployment to Iraq and Kuwait and Alex, 21, is a senior at Southwestern State University pursuing a degree in English education. Noah is a freshman at Little Falls and Hannah will be in sixth grade at the Little Falls Community Middle School.
Kristin will be working as a .4 elementary physical education teacher at Lindbergh Elementary.
As a family, the Joneses like all outdoors activities. They bike, run and golf, a sport the kids are just learning. They also love to garden.
Jones stressed his door is always open and no one should hesitate to contact him with any concerns.