Bloomington Kennedy principal headed to Edina

andy beaton
Bloomington Kennedy High School principal Andy Beaton addresses students prior to the school district’s annual Peace Run May 5. Beaton has been Kennedy’s principal for seven years and will take over as Edina High School’s principal in July. (Sun Current staff photo by Mike Hanks) 

 

It turns out the class of 2017 won’t be the only students departing Bloomington Kennedy High School this spring.

Along with the senior class, Kennedy Principal Andy Beaton will be moving on following commencement. His destination: Edina High School.

Beaton will replace Edina’s retiring Bruce Locklear this summer, in time to greet two incoming classes at Edina High School in September. Besides the annual influx of sophomores, Edina will be moving its freshman class to its high school this fall.

For Beaton, the Edina opportunity was the result of an invitation he wasn’t looking for, he said. The move to Edina isn’t out of dissatisfaction with his job at Kennedy. Leaders at Edina respected his accomplishments as Kennedy’s principal for the past seven years and inquired if he would be interested in replacing Locklear.

Being asked to oversee the expansion of Edina High School, along with the influx of ninth-grade students, teachers and support staff that will help fill the building, was an intriguing proposition for Beaton.

“I was excited about the challenge and the opportunity,” he said.

Beaton has previously worked as an assistant principal and principal at Columbia Heights High School, as dean of students at Sandburg Middle School in Golden Valley and as a social studies teacher at Robbinsdale Armstrong High School.

His interest in Kennedy was a result of both its similarities and differences to Columbia Heights. Both schools have a similar, diverse student population, but Bloomington is part of a larger system that provided opportunities to lead in ways that weren’t offered to him in Columbia Heights. Bloomington’s leadership gave Beaton greater autonomy in his leadership decisions at Kennedy, he explained.

When he arrived at Kennedy, the school’s reputation wasn’t as strong as it is today, according to Beaton. Schools don’t exist to turn a profit, but in an era of choices, students and their families need to be satisfied with the educational program and opportunities at the school they choose, according to Beaton.

Beaton identified the need for a student management plan at Kennedy. Through setting and communicating student expectations, the goal has been to prepare students for life beyond high school while creating a positive environment through reasonable expectations of Kennedy’s students, he said.

“We built a really strong reputation here at Kennedy.

Beaton considers himself a teacher at heart, and he has been actively involved with the student body at Kennedy during his tenure. Students are accustomed to seeing Beaton greet them when they arrive in the morning, and he is frequently present for school programs and functions.

Beaton earned a bachelor’s degree in geography from Macalester College and a master’s degree in education from the University of Minnesota. He earned an education specialist degree in educational leadership from St. Mary’s University, and has received several awards and recognitions from the Minnesota Association of Secondary School Principals, including the Hennepin Division Principal of the Year and several innovation awards.

“Andy’s experience and enthusiasm for student success was clearly evident in our meeting and in the numerous inputs gathered from students, staff and parents throughout the interview process,” said John Schultz, Edina’s incoming superintendent. “He is very relational and seems very focused on engaging all stakeholders in his work.”

Beaton will take over as principal at Edina High School July 1.

Carol Kampa will serve as interim principal of Kennedy High School for the 2017-18 school year. Kampa has been an assistant principal at Kennedy for the past 11 years.