He’s ready for back-to-school
Blue Earth Area High School’s new principal says his philosophy of education can be boiled down to one sentence.
“We need to do what is best for the kids,” Greg Ewing says.
The new principal is just starting his position full time this week, right as school begins. He has been helping out his former district, Butterfield-Odin, as they begin their school year with a new hire as well.
Ewing was not just the high school principal there, he was the only principal, in charge of the whole K-12 system.
“I was just there for one year,” he says. “And I felt I needed to help them get the school year underway. The BEA School Board allowed me to do that.”
Ewing has had a long and varied career, and not all of it was in education, although that is what he went to college for becoming a teacher.
BEA’s new principal was born in Ottawa, Illinois, and moved to Minnesota the year when he was going to be a freshman.
“I went to St. Anthony Village High School in northeast Minneapolis,” Ewing recalls. “After that I went to Hamline University where I graduated with a degree in secondary social studies education with an emphasis in world history.”
It was there at Hamline that Ewing met his wife, Brenda. After college, the two were married and moved to Hutchinson where his wife had a job lined up.
From there, it gets pretty interesting, job-wise, for the new BEA leader.
“Well, I spent a year substitute teaching at Hutch, and also working part time at the 3M plant there, helping make VHS tapes,” Ewing says with a chuckle. “Then I went full time at 3M for five years and worked on getting my masters degree in adult learning and human development technology at St. Thomas University at the same time. I didn’t have a chance to complete the program.”
Next he started working for Target, and managed five different stores in the Twin Cities area over the next two years.
After that, he was offered a position back in Hutchinson, but not at the school.
“I was the Youth and Families Ministry director at Peace Lutheran Church there,” Ewing explains. “I did everything from Sunday School to confirmation, to elementary and high school youth programs, even a college ministry program.”
He did that for five years. For the last two years of those five years, he was also a very part-time teacher at Hutchinson High School, teaching one class of psychology.
Then, finally, he became a full-time teacher at Hutchinson, teaching both psychology and American history. He taught at Hutchinson for 17 years, the first two as a substitute and the next 15 as a full-time teacher.
“Over the years I taught American history, world history, modern history, and psychology,” Ewing says. “I was also a football and baseball coach at different grade levels all of those years.”
Plus, he was getting his masters degree at St. Mary’s University in Winona. But, it was not in the same area as when he was in a master’s program before. He ended up with a masters in education degree.
He also went and earned his K-12 principal’s license at Hamline University. And that precipitated his next career move.
“I became the Dean of Students at Kennedy Elementary School in Willmar,” he says. “It was a little ironic, since I had all this experience with high school students, and I ended up working with elementary kids. I did that for four years and then last year went on to Butterfield-Odin and now I’m here at Blue Earth Area.”
Ewing has rented a place to live in Blue Earth. However, his wife, Brenda, is still in Hutchinson where she is the Human Resources director for the city of Hutchinson.
The couple have two sons. Their oldest is Peter, who is a high school math teacher at Creighton Prep in Omaha, NE and coaches baseball and football.
“Yes, I guess it is true that the apple does not fall far from the tree,” Ewing laughs. “He seems to be following in my footsteps.”
Their younger son, Jackson, is a fifth-year senior at South Dakota State University in Brookings, majoring in operations management.
So what does BEA’s new high school principal do when he is not working?
“Well, just for fun, I go get yelled at,” he says with a laugh. “I have been a wrestling referee for the past 27 years. I have officiated at the State Wrestling Tournament several times, too.”
Ewing wrestled in high school and for three years in college at Hamline. He also worked for the Minnesota Twins while he was in college, as a security guard.
“I was working for them in 1987 for the World Series,” Ewing says. “I got to ride with Tim Laudner in the parade downtown. It was pretty great.”
The new principal likes to read and also stay active, in the community, at his church and just going out for a walk.
Ewing says he also loves going to high school sports and other activities, and not just because he is the principal, but because he enjoys it.
“My wife and I both love the arts, music, theater, so we go to a lot of events,” he says. “And, to sports, as well. I am already excited to go to the first Buccaneer football game.”
Ewing says he is an active, involved kind of administrator.
“I don’t have an agenda coming here,” he says. “I plan to listen to staff and the students and see what they think, and what they need me to do.”
He plans on getting out of his office a lot and going into classrooms, the hallways, the cafeteria and other areas of the school. He wants the students to see him and know who he is.
“Instead of seeing five or six kids a day in my office, I want to get out and see a hundred kids a day,” Ewing says. “I believe we need to create opportunities for all of our students, those who are headed to a four-year college, those who might be doing something else. But we need to give all of them a chance to grow and be ready for what comes next in their lives.”
Because as principal Ewing can attest to himself, you never know where your life is going to take you.