From a young age, Kris Stueve knew she wanted to have a career in education. And for the past 58 years of her life, she has spent 53 of them in school.
After serving in education for 36 years, with the past 15 as principal of Isanti Primary School, Stueve is looking forward to her next adventure.
Stueve’s last contract day is June 30; however, she used some vacation time, so her last day in the office was June 20.
Even though Stueve is retiring from the Cambridge-Isanti School District, she will begin working part time with Resource Training & Solutions in St. Cloud later this summer.
“This year I looked at some things, and I felt I wanted to go out at the top of my game,” Stueve said. “I’m not doing a traditional retirement in the sense that I’m still going to do something to keep my skills sharp and continue to work with schools and children.”
Stueve has enjoyed her time in the district.
“This is a wonderful district to work in,” Stueve said. “They provide you with so many different opportunities to learn, and we are surrounded by wonderful people. The teachers and staff at Isanti Primary are amazing, and there’s no way I could have done my job without them. Even though the team has changed over the past 15 years with people retiring and hiring new people, it’s always been an honor and challenge to get things done.”
A few of the substantial projects Stueve was proud to be a part of was implementing the year-round program for elementary students. She was also a part of the planning team for the building of the new Isanti Intermediate School.
“We changed from an elementary school to a primary school and had to figure out how to move those students over to the new building,” Stueve said. “There were many logistics involved with that, and it was a big culture change in the building. Bringing the early childhood programs into our building also brought a whole new dynamic into our building.”
Stueve is proud of the work she achieved with her staff at Isanti Primary.
“We always looked at how do we professionally grow as a staff through different curriculum changes and standards, and what do we do to implement them,” Stueve said. “We’ve also seen basic need changes in children, as more children are in different family situations. The economic downturn impacted so many people and caused changes in family. Our teachers are not only teachers, but also social workers, grief counselors, friends and health workers. Children have so many needs beyond just academic needs.”
Stueve said she feels administration has always supported her.
“From day one, I have felt support in this position,” Stueve said. “I’ve felt real camaraderie from all the different administrators I’ve worked with and support from the administration team. All of the principals in this district have a voice and are supported.”
Life-long love of education
Stueve knew her career path was set from a young age.
“I played school as a child,” Stueve said. “When we lived in Sauk Rapids we didn’t live too far from the high school. I remember seeing all the kids walking home carrying their books and backpacks, and I remember thinking, I can’t wait to do that. I always loved school. I’m 58 now and have been in school for 53 years. Out of all the years I’ve spent in education, I have never said, ‘I have to go to work.’ It’s always been, ‘I have to go to school.’”
Stueve’s going to miss the children, she said.
“If I’m having a bad day, all I have to do is walk down the hall and I’ll get five hugs from students by the time I reach the back door,” Stueve said. “I’m really going to miss the children.”
With more free time, Stueve is looking forward to enhancing her photography skills, which is a new hobby for her. She will also be going to Door County in Wisconsin and watching the ships come into Duluth later this summer. She will be crossing one item off her “bucket list” when she goes on an Alaskan cruise next year.
As far as her decision to retire, Stueve said, “I’m as ready as I’ll ever be.”
“I’ve had ups and downs with my decision to retire, and it’s kind of bittersweet,” Stueve said. “But I know professionally and personally it’s the right thing to do. I’m leaving my family, but I’m not leaving education with the work I will be doing for Resource Training & Solutions.”
Stueve hopes she has made a difference during her time at Isanti Primary.
“I hope people feel I made a positive difference and that I cared about them,” Stueve said. “I truly hope I made a positive difference with the children and was always as fair and kind as I could be and did my job with integrity.”