by Dennis Dalman
After serving 17 years as the principal of St. Francis Xavier School in Sartell, Linda Wilfahrt will retire at the end of this school year.
Wilfahrt described her mixed feelings about retiring as a combination of “sad” and “excited.”
“On the one hand, I am sad,” she said. “The St. Francis Xavier School community – students, staff, parents, volunteers – are very dear to me.”
Citing a prose piece entitled “Bits and Pieces,” Wilfahrt said people are “bits and pieces” of all of those they have encountered in their lives.
“We, in turn, affect the lives of others,” she added. “Years ago, a mother thanked me for all I had done for her daughter. What struck me was I was unaware of having done anything. I still wonder about that. And now, I take with me all the bits and pieces of those who have been part of my life at SFX, and I wonder what bits and pieces I leave behind. I hope I made a positive impact.”
Wilfahrt’s retirement will also be exciting, she said, because it will allow her to make a “fresh start at something – as yet undefined.”
“I think it would be fun to learn how to play the drums,” she said. “I saw a parent join Slip Twister (the rock band) last November and play the drums for (the song) ‘Louie, Louie.’ It looked like so much fun!”
There are also many books to read and grandchildren to play with .
“It’s time,” she said, “for a new adventure!”
Looking back, Wilfahrt is amazed at how many changes occurred in just the past 17 years.
“The greatest changes in education,” she said, “have been in technology and curriculum. In the past, classroom teachers often designed curriculum based on the table of contents in a textbook. Now, there are standards in every subject at every grade level, identifying the minimum of what a student should learn. Add to that the remarkable advantages made available to teachers and students through technology, and the result is better instruction and increased learning.”
Wilfahrt said she and her husband might move to the Twin Cities area.
“But life is funny,” she quickly added. “It doesn’t always go according to plan.”
A relocation from Sartell to the Twin Cities would make sense because Wilfahrt’s husband, Paul, works for a company called Infinite Campus in Blaine, which requires an 80-minute daily commute. His job involves scheduling and organizing various school districts in a multitude of tasks.
Linda, born in Abiline, Texas, and Paul, originally from New Ulm, met when both were in college – she at St. Scholastica College in Atkinson, Kan. and he in St. Benedict College in Atchison (the two colleges have since combined.)
Linda earned a college degree in English and a minor degree in psychology.
St. Francis Xavier School, which celebrated its 50th birthday last year, is a Catholic parochial school in Sartell – pre-school through sixth grade.