by Cori Hilsgen
Kennedy Community School principal Laurie Putnam has been appointed to a new position as the assistant superintendent of secondary education and will be leaving Kennedy at the end of the school year.
In her new position, she will oversee Kennedy as well as Apollo and Tech high schools, North and South junior high schools and McKinley-ALC.
“I have greatly enjoyed my time serving the Kennedy community,” Putnam said. “The families, businesses and city leaders in St. Joseph have been supportive of both me and the work our staff do daily. We have such a talented, dedicated staff and truly amazing students at our school, and I will miss them greatly.”
Anna Willhite, who is currently assigned to North Junior High School for the remainder of the year but plans to return as the assistant principal at Kennedy next year, has worked with Putnam at the school.
“Laurie Putnam is a passionate and inspiring educational leader and her leadership at Kennedy will be greatly missed,” Willhite said. “Laurie has been an excellent mentor and has had a profound impact on the lives of the students, staff and families at Kennedy. Although I am sad to see her leaving our school community, I am excited she will still be supporting our Kennedy community at the district level.”
Putnam has been the principal at Kennedy since 2015. Before that, she worked for three years as a counselor and assistant principal at South Junior High School and also worked in the Minneapolis school district.
In Minneapolis she worked as a school counselor, Small Learning Community coordinator and Title 1 coordinator at Edison High School. She also worked as a school counselor at Stadium View, a seventh- through 12th-grade school that Minneapolis runs inside the Hennepin County Short-Term Detention Facility.
“Leaving this incredible community was not an easy decision for me,” Putnam said. “It’s tough to leave a place where I have meaningful connections and to leave a team that’s doing such great work for students and families. Though it’s hard to leave, I have grown as a leader during my tenure at Kennedy Community School, and I look forward to the new challenges ahead.”
Putnam said she is thankful she will be able to continue serving the Kennedy community through her new district leadership role and looks forward to working with the other secondary schools in the district.
When her replacement is determined, Putnam said they will partner to provide a smooth transition of services and leadership for students, families and staff.
Kennedy currently has about 850 students in kindergarten through eighth-grade and about 50 more Pre-K students.