Administrator's heart is still in the classroom with the students
Dr. Paul Tedesco's first goal as the new superintendent of schools is to learn faces and names of those employed in the Storm Lake district. That is no small task, and it must be done will be a great task and one that is important to complete as quickly as possible to help establish relationships.
Other goals include continuing to make sure that every child attending school in Storm Lake is given the chance to be successful, getting up to date on the financial status of the district and discussing facility issues as a new unified elementary school looms on the horizon.
"I am so thrilled to be here and I am excited about the opportunities and challenges before me," Dr. Tedesco said.
He was hired this spring and came on board June 27, replacing Dr. Bill Kruse who has retired this month.
Tedesco bring experience to his role, gained at schools larger than Storm Lake and schools much smaller.
Throughout his career, he has faced many challenges; from making the transitions of reorganization go smoothly to fighting to maintain curriculum while a small district is forced to close buildings.
All of the experiences, he said, have helped make him a better administrator.
By being in a small school, he said, he has "seen the many hats" people need to wear to get the job done. In the larger schools, he has seen the expertise some staff members have in the different areas which lightens the load on the administrators. With the scope of work being much larger, the additional input is welcomed. And he appreciates all of the efforts of the teachers - in a small setting as well as large setting.
Dr. Tedesco grew up in Council Bluffs where several high school teachers inspired him to aim for a career as an educator. He enjoyed high school sports, but admitted he was never a "star." The experience of being part of a team and the camaraderie shared gave him the desire to also become a coach.
He graduated from Wayne State with a degree in business education. He taught at Trenton, Neb. and Neligh, Neb. and while serving as assistant principal at Omaha Cathedral, he went on to earn his master's degree in administration from the University of Nebraska Omaha.
His first principalship was at Elkhorn-Kimballton and he later went to Ida Grove. Dr. Tedesco went back for additional education at Iowa State University, earning his certificate of advanced studies, allowing him to serve as a superintendent.
He first served as a superintendent at Harris-Lake Park, moving next to Boyer Valley and prior to coming to Storm Lake, he had been serving as the superintendent at Emmetsburg. He completed work for his doctorate in August 2004 form the Colorado State University.
Over the years, he has had the pleasure of teaching high school business courses, serving as assistant coach and head coach for such sports as football, basketball, baseball and track and even, on occasion, had the opportunity to drive a school bus carrying the athletes. One of the most rewarding appointments he accepted was serving as driver's education instructor.
"It gave me the chance to get to know the students on a different level," he commented. And driving the bus was another way to have fun with kids."
Throughout his career, he has always hoped to make an impact on students' lives. He has been rewarded time and again by past students who have come back to him to thank him for something they learned from him during their high school years.
He often misses being out of the classroom and away from the students but he has never lost the scope that all that he does is "for the students."
He stressed that it is very important for the teachers, administrators, students and parents to work together to make the education process the best it can be.
He is planning on making visits to the different buildings throughout the school year to see the students in their learning environments. He will also be involved in school activities and has traded in his E-Hawks status to become a Tornado fan.
Dr. Tedesco and his wife Patti, his college sweetheart, are still residing in Emmetsburg, waiting to sell their home.
Patti is a college counselor there, after teaching in different school districts over the years.
When not wearing his superintendent "hat", Dr. Tedesco enjoys golfing, reading books, taking walks with his wife and spending time with family.
He and his wife have four children - Tony, who graduated in May from Emmetsburg High School; and three married daughters, Angela, Melissa and Gina. They also have four grandchildren.