By Tina Snell, Staff Writer
Little Falls Community Middle School (LFCMS) Principal Nate Swenson is moving on. His seven years in Little Falls came to an end at the end of this school year. Swenson has taken the job as principal at Eden Prairie’s Central Middle School which consists of grades seven and eight.
“The middle school in Little Falls consisted of grades six, seven and eight and there were 530 students,” Swenson said. “Central has 1,400 students.”
Eden Prairie schools also have the same iPad set-up that Little Falls has, but have been using the devices for a shorter period of time.
Swenson said it will help a lot that he has already been a part of using iPads.
Swenson began his teaching career in 1999 when he taught science for four years at Northview Junior High in the Osseo District, grades eight and nine.
Swenson then became the dean of students at Brooklyn Junior High, also in the Osseo District, for one year.
At Robbinsdale Cooper High School, he was the assistant principal for one year, and in 2004, he took the principal’s job with Maple Grove Junior High, staying there for two years.
“In greater Minnesota, it is logical to go from principal to superintendent,” said Swenson. “I would like to learn more before that jump. By going to the Twin Cities, I have more options such as assistant superintendent or a cabinet-level director.”
Swenson became a principal because he wanted the opportunity to have a dramatic impact on both students and teachers. He said that children are the future and they need to be loved and nurtured. He said he wanted to use his leadership qualities to influence those teachers who in turn, influence students.
Little Falls Supt. Stephen Jones said, “Nate has done a marvelous job in collaborating with staff to emphatically change the culture at the middle school. His leadership the past seven years has centered on student achievement, growth and character. It has been incredibly rewarding to see all the middle school stakeholders (staff, students, parents and community) positively respond to Nate’s philosophy and style. We wish him the very best as he pursues this professional opportunity.”
Swenson said he is most proud of two accomplishments while principal of the LFCMS. From the school’s perspective, he said he is proud of dramatically improving the climate of the building.
“It was a big thing for the community,” he said. “Now families are happy to be sending their children here. I am very proud of that.”
From a teacher’s perspective, Swenson is proud he has allowed time for teachers to get better at what they do, which is teaching and educating students.
“A good environment is so important for children to learn,” he said.
Swenson said he will miss the kids, a lot.
“I am going to a school where my role as principal will take me away from the students,” he said. “The Eden Prairie school is much bigger and I will miss the interaction I had in Little Falls.”
Swenson put together his team at LFCMS and he said that is another part of the job he’s leaving that he’ll miss.
“I put my stamp on this school and I’ve had a lot of influence on what it’s become. I will miss my team,” he said.
According to Swenson, the people who influenced him the most in his life were his parents, both who live in Little Falls.
“Both my parents were educators and it was natural for me to go down this road,” he said.
Swenson’s free time is spent with his wife, Sarah, and four children, Gavin, 10, Marlo, 8, Grady, 7, and Mack, 5. He also played electric guitar and Sarah sang in a Christian rock group at the Waters Church in Sartell.