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Aalgaard to lead Gene Dillon Elementary

Ami Aalgaard

BEMIDJI -- A longtime Bemidji student and teacher is set to helm the school district’s newest elementary school.

Ami Aalgaard graduated from Bemidji High School in 1988, Bemidji State University in 1992, and, other than a brief sojourn at Kasson-Mantorville, has spent the entirety of her teaching and administrative career in Bemidji Area Schools.

On Tuesday, she was named principal at Gene Dillon Elementary, a soon-to-be-completed home for all the district’s fourth and fifth graders.

Aalgaard said the school’s focus on STEAM -- science, technology, engineering, art, and math -- curriculum appealed to her.

“I think the opportunity for kids to explore those future opportunities and likely their careers, their career paths, was very exciting,” she told the Pioneer.

The school will also be considerably larger than Horace May, where Aalgaard has been a principal since 2012. Gene Dillon has a capacity for about 900 students, Aalgaard said, and all the district’s fourth- and fifth-grade teachers will transfer over to the new elementary before it opens for the 2018-19 school year.

“It's almost like the middle school. Like a bridge between the elementaries to the middle school to try and help with that transition,” she explained. “It's like a new frontier in education and it really excited me...This is not something that our community has had before.”

Aalgaard earned her K-12 principal licensure in August 2011 from Minnesota State University in

Moorhead; her master’s special education from Bemidji State University in 2005; and a bachelor’s in elementary education there in 1992.

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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