by Dennis Dalman
On the morning of Sept. 8, Angela Safran and daughter Jillian drove from Avon to Sartell for their first day of school – Jillian as an eighth-grader and Angela as the new principal of Sartell Middle School.
The school day was “controlled chaos” but “good chaos,” said Angela, adding, “We have great kids, a lot of them. And so much energy!”
Two days earlier, on Sept. 6, the school was open only for sixth-graders. Safran, teachers and school staff met the sixth-graders as they arrived at the school’s front door and then cheered loudly for the new arrivals. The kids loved it. At the end of the school day, as the students were preparing to board buses, the staff cheered again.
That day had been an orientation day, with kids learning how to open their lockers, how to read schedules and lining up for lunch. At an assembly, everyone introduced themselves and began the process of getting to know one another.
“It helped the students feel more comfortable,” Safran said.
No face masks are required at SMS.
“So far so good,” Safran said.
The next day, Sept. 8, it was time for all the students (including the seventh- and eighth-graders) to go to school. For those older children, there was a Student Advisory meeting with questions and answers, a period of adjustment to begin the school year.
There are about 1,000 students this year at the middle school and a teaching and administrative staff of about 100, including paraprofessionals.
Before being hired to lead SMS, Safran had been the principal at Holdingford High School.
“I’m in a good place,” said Safran, the new principal. “This is a great school and a lot bigger than the one in Holdingford. It will take some time to get used to.”
Raised in Browerville, Angela Safran earned a degree in English from the University of North Dakota (Grand Forks) then moved to Rochester, N.Y., where she earned a master’s degree in teaching from St. John’s Fisher College. She taught language arts for 10 years in Webster, N.Y., a suburb of Rochester.
After that, she moved back to Minnesota to teach language arts in Holdingford. She worked at that school for 13 years, the last five of them as its principal.
Safran and daughter Jillian are both excited about the new school year and the opportunities it will bring for one and all.
The new principal and her daughter plan to move from Avon to Sartell as soon as possible.