After serving as superintendent of the Lake Park-Audubon (LPA) school district for 18 years, Dale Hogie will retire from the position at the end of the 2018-19 school year.

While Hogie is leaving the superintendent position, he still plans to pursue a career in education for a few years - maybe even longer. Hogie says he and his wife Cheryl, a family and consumer sciences teacher in the district, also plan to stick around the area they've come to know and love.

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"I'm just thinking that, you know, I'm healthy. I'm excited about things happening in education, and I would just like to continue working for a period of time someplace else," he said.

Two decades of LP-A admin

Hogie and his wife moved to the area over 21 years ago, when he accepted a principal position in the LP-A district, and she accepted a teaching position.

"We had children ... and we saw advantages to being in Minnesota. We liked the lake country," he said.

After three years as a principal in LP-A, Hogie went for the superintendent spot and got it in 2003. He had worked as a superintendent in Fassenden, North Dakota, and he saw the opportunity to move back into that role again in LP-A.

"Management of a district, having the opportunity to work with finances ... I had liked doing that," said Hogie of his decision to apply for the spot nearly two decades ago.

Of course, the position came with much more responsibility.

"When you're superintendent, you kind of are held responsible for everything that goes on," he said. "It's difficult to manage all of that and see all of that."

Hogie says his best course of action for managing the LP-A district was by building strong working relationships with staff and providing guidance in that way.

"I've been very fortunate to have really good people working in the district .... I value the relationships with the staff members that I've gotten to work with, the community members that I've gotten to know," he said, adding that he has derived a great sense of pride from the accomplishments of the students and staff while he has overseen the district.

Passing a referendum beast

Hogie says one of the accomplishments he is most proud of is when the community passed a $21 million building bond referendum in 2010, which built a new high school in Lake Park, established athletic fields, and funded extensive renovations at the elementary school in Audubon.

While he admits he can't take sole credit for getting the referendum passed after six elections, he says he is proud of the work the community did, coming together to get a referendum passed for the kids.

"I put information together. I had public meetings and presented, but the real work came from people out in the public that talked about the need for a facility or facility improvements," said Hogie.

The new schools have certainly made the district more appealing to students and parents alike. Hogie says the number of students who were open-enrolling out of the district has decreased, and the number of students open-enrolling in has gone up, creating an increase of over 100 students over the last decade.

"Since 2009, our enrollment's gone up substantially from 609 students to about 725 this year," said Hogie.

Hogie says during his tenure, the district has also passed three operating referendums to fund the day-to-day affairs, another accomplishment he sees as an asset as he leaves his position and passes on the torch.

"I'm very proud of what LPA has accomplished," he said.