When Maple Grove Junior High School opens its doors the first week of September there will be a new face greeting incoming students. Though new to the building, the new principal Lisa Hartman is far from a stranger to the district.
Hartman takes over the junior high leadership role after seven years as assistant principal of Maple Grove Senior High. Her experience in the district has her already greeting some familiar faces as she encounters parents who also have students in the upper grades.Hartman, who worked as a teacher for 16 years before taking on an administrator role, said she’s looking forward to working in the junior high, knowing that it’s an opportunity for student growth.
“We have to take a look at the whole child,” she says. “They’re in an environment now where they have to learn some more independence. At 13, 14, 15 a lot of the development is them trying to figure out who they are. It’s important to pay attention to those social emotional pieces along with the curriculum.”
Junior high, she says, is all about getting kids to connect at school, with adults and with their peers while using the school’s curriculum as a good base for exploration.
“I think you can really have a positive impact on kids (at this age),” Hartman says.
In addition to all the seriousness that comes along with her new principalship, Hartman says junior high kids are just plain fun.She spent a decade and a half in the classroom working as a Spanish teacher, teaching English as a Second Language and working in the Peace Corp, teaching at schools in San Juan, Puerto Rico. While in the Peace Corps, she served as a teacher trainer for the Department of Education in Paraguay and worked as a professor at a teacher training school.When she returned to Minnesota Hartman says she found herself taking on more leadership roles and the mentoring of student teachers.
But, for as much as Hartman loves teaching others, she also loves learning.
She received her undergrad in Spanish education and business education from Concordia in Moorhead and she went on to get her Master of Arts in curriculum and instruction from the University of St. Thomas. She is currently a doctoral candidate in the educational leadership department at St. Thomas
“I think it’s one of the reasons I love the Osseo School District,” Hartman said. “One of the things we want for our students is to be life-long learners and I live that."
In the Osseo School District Hartman has made district-wide strides in the area of positive behavior intervention support. She’s worked with others in the district to set standards for teaching kids about expectations for behavior in the classroom and in common areas.
She’ll springboard from that work when she enters the junior high and begins to focus on the prevention of cyber-bullying, something staff identified as a concern in her early talks with them. She’ll discuss with staff and students the role social media plays at the junior high level and she’ll work with students to help them understand exactly what cyber-bullying looks like. Parent education, she says, will be key as educators try to teach students about online safety and boundaries.
Overall, Dr. Teri Staloch, assistant superintendent of leadership, teaching and learning for the district, says Hartman will be a good fit for the school.“Lisa is a really an instructional leader,” Staloch says. “She has solid experience, a solid background. She has a clear understanding of what to do and how to implement those strategies that impact teaching and learning.”
Staloch says that passion for kids is a necessity when it comes to supporting parents and staff, something she said Hartman does very well.“I’m thrilled for Lisa, I’m thrilled for us, I’m thrilled for Maple Grove Junior High,” Staloch said. “I think Lisa is going to do a good job of taking an already good school to the next level.”