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St. Luke’s taps Brandt as next administrator

By Staff | Feb 14, 2011

St. Luke’s Lutheran Care Center social services director, Margaret Brandt, was selected as the new administrator last week.

The good news is that St. Luke’s Lutheran Care Center has named a new administrator.

The bad news is, she won’t be ready to step into her new position for nine months to a year.

Although they had a variety of applicants from several states – and even one foreign country (Greece) – the hiring committee selected one of their own.

Margaret Brandt has been an employee of St. Luke’s for 20 years. She started out as the evening supervisor, and has been the social services director for many years.

Now, she will move her office around the corner, and become the head administrator.

Brandt visits with Rhonda Anderson and Becky Plocker, two other St. Luke’s department managers.

But, that won’t happen for some time. Brandt does not yet have her certification as a nursing home administrator. The process to get it could take from nine months to a year.

During that time, interim administrator Dennis Reiman will continue his work at St. Luke’s.

“I’m here for as long as they (St. Luke’s board) need me,” Reiman says. “I’m fully prepared to be here for a year or longer.”

Brandt plans on taking courses at the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota. Some of the work will be done on campus, but a lot can be done as independent studies.

Reiman says the school is a great place to get an administration certificate. He should know, as that is where he received his from.

In the meantime, Reiman will also be a mentor for Brandt, as she studies for the tests, and as she learn all of the duties she will be assuming.

Of course, one of those duties will be to hire a new social services director, to replace herself.

Brandt is an Iowa native, and now lives in Algona with her husband Greg, and two daughters, Brittany, 17, and Patricia, 13.

She grew up in Swea City, and her husband in Ledyard. He still farms the family farm in Ledyard.

“I was pretty excited when they told me I was selected,” Brandt says. “It was just such a wonderful surprise.”

She says the first interim administrator, who was here for a month, and Reiman, both encouraged her to apply.

“It is so great to have Dennis able to stay here as I get my administrator licensing completed,” she says. “Plus it will be good to have him as my mentor. He will make this transition go well.”

Brandt received her social work degree from Minnesota State University, Mankato, with a minor in business, and a 2-year RN degree from Iowa Lakes College.

Her hobby is exercising, she says, including walking and biking.

“And I love to spend time with my kids, and my family,” she says. “I go to a lot of school events.”

Her two daughters attend a private school, the Garrigan School, in Algona.

“That is why we moved there,” she says. “A little less running around.”

Of course, she drives to Blue Earth each day, and husband Greg drives to Ledyard during farming season.

Now, she will also be driving to the Twin Cities for her classes.

“My oldest daughter joked and asked me if we will now be going to college together,” Brandt says. “She thinks it’s funny I have to go back to school.”

Reiman says there were 20 applicants for the position, which they narrowed to 12.

“About half of those had their administrator license, and half did not,” he says. “But, all 12 did have experience in nursing home facilities.”

The selection committee chose four to interview, but one of those dropped out before the interview was held.

“All three we interviewed were very qualified,” Reiman says. “They all had a lot of experience.”

The committee felt that Brandt was the ideal candidate for the job, he says.

“They know what she is capable of, and she knows St. Luke’s and what is needed here,” Reiman says. “Many board members were very happy with this choice.”

So is Brandt.

“St. Luke’s is a wonderful place,” she says. “I expect everything (with the transition) to go well. We have always worked well together, there is a great work flow here. We have very good department managers, too, and I have always enjoyed working with all of them in the past. I fully expect it to continue.”