Grant retiring after more than 30 years in education
Kevin Grant has spent a lot of time in the school building at Winnebago as a student, a teacher and a principal.
But, after June 7, his many years spent in the Winnebago School are going to come to a close.
Grant is one of three administrators in the Blue Earth Area School District who is retiring this year.
In actuality, Grant and high school principal Jack Eustice and superintendent Dale Brandsoy all retired at the end of the school year last June, but were rehired on a one-year contract.
Grant’s contract ends on June 7. But, he will now sign a one-year contract calling for him to work 40 days next school year as the Title I – Federal Applications coordinator.
Grant grew up attending school in Winnebago and graduated from Winnebago High School. From there he attended Mankato State University, graduating in 1978.
“I spent one year as a fifth-grade teacher in Cold Spring-Rocori,” Grant recalls. “Then, in 1979, I was hired to teach fifth grade at Winnebago Elementary.”
He also served as the head wrestling coach and assistant football coach at Winnebago.
After nine years of teaching, Grant completed his adminstration degree and became the elementary principal at Winnebago in the 1988-89 school year.
Grant says he also filled in as principal at Delavan one year as well as at Blue Earth Junior High with Don Beach.
Then in the 1999-2000 school year, Grant became the elementary principal for both Winnebago and Blue Earth.
“I have worn a lot of hats,” he says. “I have had a few different titles.”
For instance, for the past seven years he has been the district assessment coordinator, dealing with all the mandated testing that has been attached to the No Child Left Behind program.
Last year Grant and BEA Middle School principal Melissa McGuire split some of the duties at the school. “I have been working with all the mandated programs from the federal and state levels,” Grant says. “Plus all the testing and staff development, including our PLCs.”
Grant says there have been many exciting changes in education during his years in the profession.
“From resources to teaching techniques to technology,” he says. “These take a lot of extra training. The expectations for all the teaching staff is much higher than 30 years ago.”
He says there is much more emphasis on student proficiency and accountability.
“It is all very positive, but also is very challenging,” Grant says. “It is a change from the usual way of doing business, but it is more effective.”
Grant especially points to the PLCs as being beneficial to the teachers. It has brought teachers together, instead of each working alone in their own classroom.
Another change Grant has seen over the years has to do with the socio-economic status of students.
“In Faribault County we have a lot more needy families than we had 10 years ago,” he says. “This is quite evident in the number of students in our free and reduced meal programs. We do have kids who need this help in our county.”
Besides the students, Grant will miss working with the staff the most.
“I have been lucky to always have had a great staff to work with at both sites (Winnebago and Blue Earth).” he says. “Plus, I could not ask for better school boards, in Winnebago at first, then the joint powers years and now with BEA.”
He points to the support and leadership of all the school board members as having been outstanding, especially when the schools were brought together.
Grant says he went into the education profession because of his siblings.
“I am the seventh of eight children,” he says. “Several of them went into teaching, too, and I just followed them. Three of us became education administrators.”
Grant says his parents were insistent that all eight of them go to college, and all of them did.
“We can thank our parents for insisting on that,” he says. “And also Dudley Krause at First National Bank in Winnebago who made it financially possible.”
As far as what he plans to do in retirement, Grant says he has no big plans.
“I am just looking forward to the flexibility. I?plan to spend some time relaxing,” he says. “Then just see what develops. I am still young enough to do some type of work somewhere, and something might pop up.”
Grant and his wife, Vicki, who retired from Blue Earth Valley Eye Clinic last month, do have a trip planned to start off their retirement.
Their daughter, Laurie, and her husband, Gabe and daughter Lua, moved to London, England, recently.
“We have a trip planned to go visit them this month,” Grant says. “They will be living there for two to four years.”
The Grants also have a daughter, Jenny, who teaches in Mankato, and a son, Jim, who is in medical sales in the Twin Cities.
Grant says the full impact of impending retirement has not really set in yet.
“It has been very busy here the past few weeks,” he says about the final days of the school year. “I have really been too busy to think about it a lot. But I am sure it will hit me sometime.”
Probably when he no longer has to go to the Winnebago School building for the first time in many, many years.