Though she is relatively new to the Detroit Lakes community — her duties as Rossman Elementary School principal began this Thursday, July 1 — Emily Sternberg is no stranger to education.

Sternberg, who makes her home in Fergus Falls with husband Dan — a sixth grade teacher — and two of their four children, has been the principal at Rothsay Elementary School for the past three years, and has almost two decades of teaching experience under her belt as well.

"I was a music teacher at St. Charles (Minn.) for 18 years," she says.

While teaching at St. Charles, Sternberg took on multiple leadership roles, and it was her friends and colleagues there who urged her to pursue a career in school administration.

"I got my masters of science in education, and then went on to get my specialist degree and principal's license," she said, with all of those coming from Winona State University.

WDAY logo
listen live
watch live
Newsletter signup for email alerts

Her first principal job was at Rothsay, a position she held from 2018 to 2021. She says she was attracted to the job in Detroit Lakes because of the opportunities there.

"This is a district that really pursues excellence and is dedicated to providing the best opportunities for every single kid," she said, adding, "When I interviewed for the job here I really felt the energy from the teachers on the interview committee. They conveyed a real sense of camaraderie."

Sternberg said she was also impressed by the way the teachers expressed their education goals and "what got them excited about teaching at Rossman."

Though she is still getting to know the community, Sternberg said she already feels welcomed by her colleagues and the people she has met so far.

"Everyone has been so welcoming, so kind and generous. It's almost overwhelming," she said.

She's looking forward to getting to know even more of the parents, educators and other community residents at a "meet and greet" open house set for this Wednesday, July 7 from 1 to 3 p.m. in the Rossman Elementary gymnasium.

"I love Detroit Lakes," she said.

For now, however, she and her family will continue to live in Fergus Falls, where Dan still works as a teacher and their two youngest children, Josh and Brynn, are getting ready to enter their junior and freshman years in high school, respectively. Older daughters Carli and Cami are both pursuing careers in education, Carli as a paraprofessional in Rochester, Minn., and Cami as a senior majoring in elementary education at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa.

"I will be commuting," she said, explaining that she doesn't want to uproot Josh and Brynn because of all the friendships they have formed, and school activities they are involved in. "It's a nice drive — a good way to gear up in the morning, and unwind on my way home."