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School begins for new principal

Going into education was always on Candace Hofstad's mind.

"I think ever since I was young I knew I wanted to be a teacher," she said, "and I never wavered on that."

Hofstad was hired last month after former Bailey Elementary principal Molly Roeske took a job as principal at Lake Middle School.

"It has been a great transition," she said. "It feels good, it feels right."

Hofstad received her principal licensure through Saint Mary's University. She received her Master of Education in Teacher Leadership through the University of Minnesota, as well as a bachelor of science in elementary education with a mathematics minor.

"I knew right away that elementary education was my passion," she said.

Hofstad comes to Bailey Elementary from Valley Crossing Community School where she served the past five years as the school's educational coordinator.

Prior to that leadership role, she worked with Mahtomedi schools for 13 years as a first and second grade teacher.

Hofstad said she was drawn to elementary education because it would allow her to work with young children on a daily basis.

"I love being with them and seeing their excitement and their energy," she said. "I have a lot of energy myself, so it's exciting to be around those young kids that have that excitement and love for learning and to instill that in them."

Hofstad said her favorite part of teaching is being able to help the students grow.

"I love helping them move forward and seeing the progress they make on a day to day basis," she said. "Plus, the unpredictability of being a teacher is what keeps you on your toes."

Hofstad's philosophy on education is: "Always put kids first. It's so important for anyone in education to look at each child as an individual and really get to know them -- everything that you do should be child-centered."

Making the switch

When the Bailey Elementary principal position became available at the end of the summer, Hofstad said she went back and forth on it because it was so close to the start of the school year.

"I was a little concerned about the switch at that late of date," she said. "But ultimately, I just felt that Bailey would be a good fit for me."

So far, the transition has been pretty smooth, Hofstad said.

Hofstad said the biggest change for her as principal will be that she won't be able to be with students all day long.

"But I'm really going to try to be visible and be with the kids," she said.

Hofstad also said becoming the ultimate decision maker will be an adjustment.

So far this school year, Hofstad has been trying to get acquainted with teachers, students and parents.

"I'm trying to get my face out there," she said. "I want people to know that my door is always open."

Hofstad said she is very excited about the new school and is optimistic about Bailey Elementary's ability to continue to grow.

"I want to make sure we're still running a smooth ship here," she said. "My goal is to really ignite a passion for lifelong learning.

"That's what I want our teachers to focus on, that's what I want our parents to focus on -- being committed that the students are passionate about learning."

Amber Kispert-Smith

Amber Kispert-Smith has been the schools and Afton reporter at the Woodbury Bulletin since 2008. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota. She previously worked as a reporter for Press Publications in White Bear Lake.

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