Fletcher takes twin roles

TAKING THE REINS — Mandy Fletcher, previously the GHEC K-12 principal, will now take on both the principal and superintendent roles.

GRANADA — The Granada-Huntley-East Chain school district will experience a change this academic year as Mandy Fletcher, formally the K-12 principal, takes on both the principal and superintendent roles.

Although Fletcher has been involved in education for 11 years, it wasn’t always something she considered for a career path.

Before she began teaching, Fletcher was working in sales and marketing. In her free time, she coached volleyball at Lake Crystal Wellcome Memorial, Fairmont and Le Sueur-Henderson.

After three years of coaching, Fletcher said she knew it was time for a change.

“I loved my coaching job so much more than my day-to-day job, and I love working with kids, that I decided that education is where I need to be,” she said.

Fletcher began her new career in 2006, teaching business education at different high schools around the area, including GHEC and Fairmont.

After a few years, Fletcher began to feel a calling to pursue something bigger than her own classroom.

“I loved being a part of strategic planning for a school district and thinking more big picture,” she said.

To do this, Fletcher went back to get her administrative degree. And, in 2014, she took a position at GHEC as a business education teacher and dean of students. Fletcher said that the two positions allowed her to bridge the gap between teaching and doing administrative work.

Fletcher quickly moved up at GHEC, pursuing her principal license and filling the position after the former principal retired.

After her third year as principal, now former Superintendent Dale Brandsoy approached Fletcher with the idea for her to take over the position once he retired. Fletcher said that up to that point, becoming a superintendent was never even on her radar.

“At first I said no. I said I loved being a principal, this is what I want to do,” Fletcher said.

But after evaluating the progress that she and Brandsoy have made working together, Fletcher realized that bringing in someone new might change the focus and relationships that the district had worked so hard to establish.

“I wanted to keep pushing that work forward, I didn’t want to change directions. We’re on such a positive momentum path that I want to keep doing that,” she said.

On July 1, Fletcher officially started her dual role as K-12 principal and superintendent. To pull off Fletcher taking over both positions, the dean of students, Kristie Rolling, who was previously part-time, will now be full-time, with she and Brenda Millmann, social worker and counselor, taking over some of the day-to-day responsibilities of the principal role.

“In a district this size, people know that it’s really all about wearing multiple hats and doing what we have to do to get the job done,” Fletcher said. “And that’s the beauty of working here, is that people do that. We do what it takes to make it work.”

For the 2017-2018 academic year, Fletcher said a main focus will be improving the district’s curriculum and instruction.

“We’ve got such an outstanding teaching staff here, I think our next step is just taking a good hard look at our curriculum, making sure it’s aligned to the standards,” she said.

Other goals include wrapping up current facilities projects and ensuring that the Positive Behaviors Interventions and Supports (PBIS) program continues to make progress.

Fletcher said they also will look to ramp up the preschool program, offering both half and full days this fall.

Brandsoy, who has worked with Fletcher for the past three years, said he encouraged her to take over as superintendent because he sees her as an “educational leader” who can take the district where it needs to go while keeping its focus on what is best for the students.

“I hope that focus stays and I think it will with Mandy,” he said.