New Panther Principal
St. Mary's Schools will be welcoming a new elementary principal this fall in a unique shared program with Sacred Heart Catholic Elementary School in Spencer. Ron Olberding, longtime principal at Spencer Sacred Heart, will be serving as part-time pre-K-4 elementary principal for St. Mary's beginning in August.
Olberding has served for 11 years as principal at Sacred Heart, and will continue his duties in Spencer while working at St. Mary's Elementary.
The principal is a graduate of Our Lady of Good Counsel High School in Fonda. He earned his undergraduate, graduate and Specialist's degrees at Drake University in Des Moines. He taught sixth grade at Ruthven-Ayrshire for seven years before moving to a sixth-grade classroom in the Spencer Community School District.
Olberding said he is ready for the challenge of leading St. Mary's Elementary School.
"I met the elementary teachers and I'm excited to get started and work with them," he said. "They are a nice group of teachers - St. Mary's is lucky to have them."
Aside from meeting with the pre-K-4 educators, Olberding has been working with St. Mary's 5-12 principal Rose Davis in preparing for the upcoming school year.
"In the work sessions I've been in with Ron this summer, I've seen an administrator who has a deep respect for Catholic education and a deep desire to support the best academic courses for our young people," Davis said. "He will complement St. Mary's."
The principal will spend one day a week on-site in Storm Lake, observing in classrooms, supervising and evaluating elementary educators. Veteran educator Heidi Larsen will take the post of Lead Teacher for the elementary and will serve as liaison between teachers and administration when Olberding is not in the building. Davis will handle discipline issues pre-K-4.
"Ron will physically be in the building one day a week, but we will be utilizing the many avenues of communication with Mr. Olberding in Spencer through the week," Davis said.
Olberding will be at the preschool picnic and school registration night Monday, Aug. 12 to meet his new school families.
"I look forward to meeting the parents and school board members on the twelfth, and especially look forward to meeting the students August 20th (the first day of classes)," he said.