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Eight-year St. Henry's teacher Smith now principal

The new principal at St. Henry's Area School won't be a new face to returning students.

Jason Smith, the new principal of the 125-year-old Catholic school, has been a teacher there for the past eight years.

Families will have the opportunity to meet Smith at the open house--though many already know him.

St. Henry's is projecting an enrollment of about 94 students, said Smith.

A 1994 graduate of Perham High School, who earned his Elementary Education degree at Minnesota State University-Moorhead, Smith has primarily taught grade four students at St. Henry's. For the past two years, he was sixth grade teacher.

Smith will continue in the classroom, teaching half time, along with his principal duties.

"I'm not certified as a principal, so I will need to enroll in a Master's Degree program," said Smith. He is considering Moorhead State, Bemidji State or possibly St. Thomas.

Smith said that he plans to follow the St. Henry's school mission statement as a guide. The statement reads "to establish a fundamentally strong foundation based on Christian virtues and values, upon which children can grow and mature."

Although Smith did not attend St. Henry's as a youngster, he is a Perham native and a member of St. Henry's Church.

The St. Henry's School Board made the decision to hire him in late July. He replaces Mary Kloster, who served as principal the past two years. The board voted earlier this summer not to renew Kloster's contract.

Joining the St. Henry's staff this year is a familiar face, Shelly Kahan, who will be teaching. A member of the parish, Kahan has substituted in the past.

Also new at the school is a refurbished roof, noted Smith.


2nd phase of St. Henry's playground expected to be completed this fall

The second phase of St. Henry's $70,000 playground project is expected to be completed this fall, reported new St. Henry's principal Jason Smith.

The first phase was completed last year, to the east of the school. The second phase will be behind the school and the church. The equipment there will be designed for older school children. To date, the fundraising is about $15,000 short of the $70,000 total, but Smith anticipates that the installation will be started and completed by mid-October.