New principals welcome students back

New Isanti Middle School Principal Randy Pauly is looking forward to a great school year, as well as new challenges.

New Isanti Middle School Principal Randy Pauly welcomes students back to school on Tuesday, Sept. 4. Pauly is also principal of the Minnesota Center, located at IMS. Photo by Rachel Kytonen

New Isanti Middle School Principal Randy Pauly welcomes students back to school on Tuesday, Sept. 4. Pauly is also principal of the Minnesota Center, located at IMS. Photo by Rachel Kytonen

Pauly, who is also principal of the Minnesota Center housed at IMS, began with the Cambridge-Isanti School District on July 1 after spending the past six years as principal of Braham Elementary School.

“I loved working in the Braham School District, and I felt we did some great things there. The student success in Braham at the elementary level was tremendous,” Pauly said. “But I felt it was a good time for me professionally to look for something new, and I live in the Cambridge-Isanti School District. I’m looking forward to working a little closer to home and facing new challenges.”

Pauly received his bachelor’s degree in education from St. John’s University, his master’s from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, and his principal licensure through St. Mary’s.

Pauly and his wife, Jean, have three children. Their oldest son graduated from Cambridge-Isanti High School and is beginning his third year at St. John’s. Their son is a seventh-grader at Cambridge Middle School, and they also have a three-year-old son.

Jeff Eklund, the new Braham Elementary School Principal, greets students as they get off the buses on the first day of school on Tuesday, Sept. 4. “What an exciting day! There is nothing better than the first day of school for an elementary child. Your new class, new locker, new desk and new friends is an unbelievable experience,” Eklund said. “We have an incredible K-6 staff at Braham Elementary, our test scores are all well above state average, and we have amazing kids here. We have a lot to look forward to this year. I’m incredibly lucky to be a part of this community and this school.” Photo by Elizabeth Sias

Jeff Eklund, the new Braham Elementary School Principal, greets students as they get off the buses on the first day of school on Tuesday, Sept. 4. “What an exciting day! There is nothing better than the first day of school for an elementary child. Your new class, new locker, new desk and new friends is an unbelievable experience,” Eklund said. “We have an incredible K-6 staff at Braham Elementary, our test scores are all well above state average, and we have amazing kids here. We have a lot to look forward to this year. I’m incredibly lucky to be a part of this community and this school.” Photo by Elizabeth Sias

Being principal of the Minnesota Center was a draw to Pauly. The Minnesota Center has been an optional year-round middle school educational program since 1995. The school calendar follows a 45-15 configuration where students learn for 45 days (nine weeks of school) and are on intersession break for 15 days (three weeks of vacation). School is in session usually from August to mid-June.

“The Minnesota Center is a unique piece to this position,” Pauly said. “Even though the Minnesota Center is only one-fifth of our student population in the building, I’m still telling the Minnesota Center teachers the same thing I’m telling the IMS teachers. We all have a great respect for one another.”

Pauly said he got to know some of the other IMS administrators during training sessions this summer in Mankato for teacher evaluations and also during training sessions at Duluth that focused on positive behaviors.

Students at Braham Elementary School wave at teachers and classmates as teachers blow bubbles at kids passing by. Inside, the school was decorated with a disco theme for the first day of school. Photo by Elizabeth Sias

Students at Braham Elementary School wave at teachers and classmates as teachers blow bubbles at kids passing by. Inside, the school was decorated with a disco theme for the first day of school. Photo by Elizabeth Sias

“Attending the training sessions was very informative, but it also gave me a chance to get to know others at IMS, especially our Dean of Students John Droubie,” Pauly said. “We connected during training sessions, but we were also able to get to know each better during dinner conversations.”

Interaction with the students is a part of Pauly’s job he really enjoys.

“I’m still connecting with kids on a daily basis and that’s always fun,” Pauly said. “We are also focusing on ways to challenge our students this year in a way that’s not confrontational, but positive. We want to empower our students and teach them to advocate for themselves.”

Braham Elementary School Principal Jeff Eklund blows bubbles as he welcomes students back to school. Photo by Elizabeth Sias

Braham Elementary School Principal Jeff Eklund blows bubbles as he welcomes students back to school. Photo by Elizabeth Sias

Pauly was very pleased with the open houses held prior to the school year beginning. He noted approximately 80 to 90 percent of the student packets were picked up prior to the Sept. 4 school opening.

“We had a great turn out at our open houses,” Pauly said. “It was a great chance for me to get know some of the parents and also parents new to the school district.”

Focusing on student success continues to be a goal at IMS.

“We are going to continue working on the never-ending achievement piece,” Pauly said. “We will continue with the pieces that work, but we will also have a fresh set of eyes on it. We are always working toward a constant state of improvement. We will continue to celebrate student success, while also continuing to identify areas of growth.”

Pauly feels he has a great team working with him.

“We have an outstanding staff at Isanti Middle School and the Minnesota Center,” Pauly said. “It’s a very close-knit group of people who are focused on working hard for our students. I’m going to continue to focus on building the relationships between our staff, our students and their parents. We want our students to know that each and every one of them is cared about, and we are paying attention to them. I’m looking forward to a great school year.”

up arrow