Wippler makes his splash at Lake Middle SchoolThere’s a new face in the leopard’s den at Lake Middle School. Last week, Rick Wippler began his position as interim principal.
By: Amber Kispert-Smith, Woodbury Bulletin
There’s a new face in the leopard’s den at Lake Middle School.
Last week, Rick Wippler began his position as interim principal.
Wippler comes aboard after former principal Todd Hochman left for a job as assistant principal at Park High School.
District 833 School Board approved Wippler’s contract, lasting through June 30 of next year, during its July 21 meeting.
“I’m excited about being at Lake,” Wippler said of the school, home of the Leopards.
Wippler began his career in education in 1974 as an English and American history teacher in Lake City.
Wippler, of White Bear Lake, said he was drawn to education because of the opportunity to help others.
“Most of my childhood was spent working with people and helping others,” he said. “The most influential people in my life, outside of my parents, were my teachers.”
Wippler said his philosophy on teaching is that all students can learn.
“All kids can learn and grow given proper time,” he said, “and that’s what I really enjoy about education — seeing that growth and development.”
Wippler said he was always drawn to the middle school aged students.
“There isn’t a better age group from my perspective,” he said. “They come to school to learn. They like learning new things.
“Their enthusiasm for learning and their willingness to go out on a limb and try new things is amazing.”
After spending six years at Lake City, Wippler took his first administration job in 1980 at Hastings High School as an administrative intern.
Wippler said he decided to make the switch to administration because it allowed him to look at the big picture.
“When you’re a teacher it’s your classroom, it’s your students,” he said. “But when you see the big picture you have an opportunity to look at the whole school — you see beyond.
“I always give the metaphor that when you’re sitting at a corner, if you’re a teacher in a classroom you’re right at the red light, but if you’re a principal you’re in a helicopter at 20,000 feet — you see much more.”
Wippler spent two years at a school in Wisconsin before taking a job as principal at Mahtomedi High School in 1983.
After 16 years at Mahtomedi, Wippler became principal at Stillwater Junior High School in 1988. He stayed there for 12 years before taking on an interim position at Woodbury Middle School last January.
Wippler said he decided to take the job as interim principal at LMS because it’s a high-ranking school with a great staff, great students and great families.
Wippler said his primary goals at LMS would be to acquaint himself with the school, the culture, the staff and what the school is.
“Academic achievement is job No. 1,” he said. “It’s an awesome responsibility to continue those wonderful things and improve upon them.”