Frazee principal says new job, community are both 'perfect fit'
If ever a man could be said to have found the perfect job, that man might be Brian Koslofsky.
Since beginning his duties as the new K-12 principal at Frazee-Vergas Public Schools on Aug. 18, Koslofsky says, his reception has been nothing but positive.
"In the five weeks since I started, it really feels like home already, which is really nice," says Koslofsky, who sat down for an interview with Detroit Lakes Newspapers on Thursday. "I'm really excited to be here."
And no wonder. Koslofsky's appointment at Frazee is the fulfillment of a "lifelong dream."
"I've known all along that I wanted to be an administrator," Koslofsky says. And while it may be his first full-time administrative position, the North Dakota native feels he will be able to draw from more than two decades of experience as an educator in his new duties at Frazee.
"I started teaching 22 years ago in Middle River, Minn.," he says.
A native of Valley City, N.D., Koslofsky earned a bachelor's degree from Valley City State University in both industrial technology and physical education (with a minor in coaching). So it was no surprise that his first position in Middle River was as an industrial technology teacher and coach.
"From there, I moved to Surrey, N.D.," Koslofsky says. "I was the first industrial tech teacher Surrey ever had. Because of the growth of the district at that time, they decided to add to their course offerings.
"That was a great opportunity to be able to come in and develop curriculum for a brand new program."
After a couple of years of teaching in Surrey, however, Koslofsky decided to take some time off from education and seek employment in the private sector.
"When I started college, I was originally on a career track to work in industry," he says.
So after a few years of teaching, Koslofsky decided to explore that career track a little further.
"I worked at Tollefson's Classic Woodworks in Surrey, building custom kitchen cabinets and counter tops," he says. "It was a a great experience, and great on-the-job training -- but what it really showed me was how much I'd miss teaching."
In fact, while he was working at Tollefson's, Koslofsky continued working as a substitute teacher and coach for the public school system in Minot (which was about a 10-minute drive from Surrey).
That experience led to him being offered a full-time teaching position at Minot the following year. He would continue working as an industrial tech teacher and football/track coach at Minot for the next six years.
At that point, Brian and his wife Sherri reached a decision about their future.
"So many times, your job dictates where you live...my wife and I decided to look at where we wanted to raise our children first (and then find a job there)," he says.
They ended up settling in Pequot Lakes, Minn., as their oldest son, Ryan, was beginning sixth grade, and daughter Ally was starting second grade.
"I was excited to have a university within commuting distance (at St. Cloud)," he says. "It was a lifelong dream to receive a degree in education administration and leadership, and ultimately, my principal and superintendent's licenses."
It took him three and a half years of commuting to St. Cloud to earn both his degree and certification after eight years of teaching at Pequot Lakes, that additional training paid off, when Koslofsky was offered a position as dean of students.
"I was responsible for (student) behavior, discipline and attendance," he says.
But after a couple of years of doing that, Koslofsky says, he began looking for opportunities to make use of his administrative training.
"My wife and I visitedabout where we wanted to live after our daughter Ally graduated high school (she's a senior at Pequot Lakes this year)," he says.
Because their son Ryan is starting his senior year at North Dakota State University in Fargo this fall, and Ally will soon be headed there as well -- not to mention Brian's family ties to Valley City -- "we really wanted to move west," he says.
"When the opening (for a principal) at Frazee was posted...I wouldn't be surprised if mine wasn't the first application to land on Mr. Stender's (Frazee superintendent) desk," he says. "I was so excited by the opportunity to come here."
Despite the fact that Ally still had a year of school left at Pequot Lakes, when Koslofsky was offered the job at Frazee, he didn't hesitate.
"I'm commuting back and forth (to Pequot Lakes) on weekends," he says. "I rent a small place here in Frazee to stay during the week."
Wife Sherri, who is a paraprofessional at Pequot Lakes, will continue her work with special needs students there for the remainder of the school year.
Despite only being a part-time resident for the time being, however, Koslofsky says, "everybody's been so warm and welcoming here. It's really going well -- I've had so many positive experiences."
Since school started at the beginning of September, Kokslofsky has been able to observe some of the teachers at Frazee-Vergas in the classroom, and has been impressed by what he's seen.
"The education the students are receiving from the staff here is really top notch," he says. "That's why they're really excelling."
As for his goals for the coming year, Koslofsky says simply that he expects "nothing less than the best," from students and staff alike.
So far, he hasn't been disappointed.
"There are so many good things happening," Koslofsky says. "This is a really good fit for me."