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Stanoch to lead Bemidji High School: Stefanich to handle alternative education and career academies

BEMIDJI—Bemidji High School will have a new hand at the helm this year, and the school's career academies are set to be run by a familiar face.

Bemidji Area Schools board members approved Monday an administrative reshuffle that makes Assistant Principal Jason Stanoch the high school's new principal and moves longtime Principal Brian Stefanich into a dual role as principal of the district's alternative schools and head of the high school's burgeoning Bemidji Career Academies. Board members also approved hiring Kyle Resler from Buffalo High School to move into Stanoch's old assistant principal seat.

Jason Stanoch

The move is the latest in a sort-of domino effect started by Gene Dillon Elementary, a new school for all of Bemidji Area Schools' fourth- and fifth-graders that'll host its first classes this September. The new school has resulted in new assignments for several administrative heads and a new elementary school attendance boundary. Ultimately, it could mean new homes for some of the district's kindergarten classes, pre-kindergarten classes and programming at its Community Services Center.

Stefanich has been a champion for the career academies, which aim to help all students dabble in post-secondary jobs and the skills and education they'll need to work in them.

The alternative education and academy positions go hand-in-hand, Stefanich said, because students at Lumberjack High School—one of several alternative schools in the district—have done well at mechatronics and nursing assistant classes at Northwest Technical College via the academies.

"Not all of our students are gonna go to college, but we want them all to...be setting their sights on a career," Stefanich said. "We've had success with our Lumberjack students. It allows the alternative students to identify a career path that they're interested in and get them into a real-life experience with our business partners, and then that's just another way to hopefully keep all of our students in school and graduate."

Brian Stefanich

Stefanich taught at J.W. Smith Elementary, was a K-12 principal at Sebeka Public School, and an assistant principal at Bemidji High School. He's been the principal there since 2009.

Stanoch taught social studies in Missouri, was an assistant principal and then principal at Red Lake High School and moved to Bemidji High School in 2016.

Resler comes from Buffalo High School and the Phoenix Learning Program, where he was an assistant principal.

Joe Bowen

Joe Bowen covers education and health for the Bemidji Pioneer.

He is a Minneapolis native and a 2009 graduate of St. John's University. Before moving to Bemidji, Bowen covered education, local politics, crime, and everything in between for the Perham Focus in Perham, Minnesota, and Sun Newspapers in suburban Minneapolis.

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