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New Perham-Dent elementary principal named

Parkers Prairie elementary principal Kari Yates has been named principal for the Perham-Dent elementary schools.

The Perham-Dent school board conducted a final interview Wednesday, July 9, before voting to offer the position.

Yates has extensive experience in the classroom and in management. She has been both elementary principal and special education coordinator in Parkers Prairie since 2006.

"I was deeply impressed with her record," said Perham-Dent Superintendent Tamara Uselman last week. "She has the experience to take us to the next level, and I'd like her here working for us."

She also helped administer the Migrant Education program, based in Moorhead, from 1997-2002.

Her teaching positions have included elementary and reading instruction in Kindred, Marshall, Moorhead and Fergus Falls, from 1985 to 2004.

"Creating a sense of family" is one of her objectives for the school. "The kids have to feel comfortable in the environment--and that trust and comfort has to be created every day," said Yates at the board interview.

Building relationships--with students, parents, staff and community--are crucial, said Yates.

"Education isn't about finding that one magic bullet," said Yates. "You have to recognize your strengths, and always look toward that next step in professional growth...come to work tomorrow with the goal of making things better."

Yates commented on the increased emphasis on public education improvement.

"We live in an age of 'No Child Left Behind' accountability, and while I don't agree with all aspects of the philosophy, by and large, it has been the impetus for the greatest explosion of discussion of education that has ever been seen in the history of American education," said Yates.

Yates was one of four finalists for the position, which was vacated when two-year principal Kim Grengs announced she would resign to accept a principalship in Farmington.

The other finalists were Andrew Kluver, Buffalo; Shawn Smith, Henricks; and Nathan Thompson, from the GFW school district.