New hires create domino effect

Enquist moves from counselor to Vice Principal

Cassidy Adamson

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Over the past two years, the administrative office of the high school has experienced the domino effect.
Last year, Rick Toso filled in as Interim Principal when Paul Neubauer became Interim Director of Curriculum. Assistant Principal Luanne Wagner took another position, and Susan Hagerty was hired in her place. In August, Hagerty took a new position in the Anoka Hennepin school district after one year at SFHS.
In addition, Doug Austin was hired last June to serve as Principal. Assistant Principal Donnie Thompson has provided the continuity.
“Its been a good experience,” said Thompson. “[I’ve] been able to step up. It has helped me grow as an administrator.”
He added that they have all been great people to work with.
Over the summer, Jill Engquist made the switch from counselor to assistant principal.
She started classes a few years ago and graduated from St. Mary’s in May with a six year degree in administration. As a counselor, she was trained to provide academic, career, and personal assistance. She also served many of her required training hours at SFHS.
“Being able to have a little bit different viewpoint of what the administrators do here, it was really intriguing to me to be able to try out a new challenge,” said Engquist.
About 60 people applied for the AP position and four were interviewed.
“She was really prepared for the position and was able to convey that for the interview,” said Assistant Principal Donnie Thompson. “She was very poised and confident.”
With Engquist moving into the AP’s office, the counseling department had an open position. Counselor Jill Salo, who works with students L-R, said they were looking for someone with some experience and who students would like and trust.
During the first week of school, counselors had over 200 students in their office trying to update and rearrange schedules.
“This made the three remaining counselors extremely busy,” said Salo.
On Friday, September 5, Jennifer Blair was finally hired to work with students A-E. Blair had already worked at St. Francis in the past, stepping in as Engquist’s substitute when she was on maternity leave.
Blair has been enjoying her new job at St. Francis.
“I like that it’s familiar to me. I’ve been here before so I know kind of how the school operates a little bit. I don’t personally know the students, but I know kind of how the students are,” she said.
In the upcoming year, Engquist looks forward to working in the building she knows so well in a different capacity.
“I just want to keep supporting students and supporting staff to keep our school moving forward in a positive direction,” she said.
Engquist has been enjoying her switch to assistant principal.
“Everyday as I’m driving home and I’m exhausted,” she said. ”I think back on my day and I love it.”