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Gonnion accepts assistant principal job at East Ridge

Jason Gonnion

Woodbury activities director Jason Gonnion is moving on to another administrative position in District 833 after six years with the Royals.

Pending School Board approval, Gonnion will become an assistant principal at East Ridge High School at the start of the 2017-18 school year. He will replace Todd Hochman, who is retiring this spring.

After working as a dean of students at Forest Lake High School for three years, Gonnion said he pursued the assistant principal position for the opportunity to get back to his experience of working with students.

"The time was right for me to look at a position that would be a good fit," Gonnion said. "I'm really excited about that instructional leadership role. It's very similar to the work I did at Forest Lake as the dean of students, and I'm really looking forward to the new challenge, but also some of the similar responsibilities I've done in the past that I enjoy, and that's working with kids on a daily basis."

Gonnion will finish up six years as Woodbury's activities director this spring before starting his new job next fall at East Ridge. He looked back on his tenure and recalled the transition period that Woodbury went through with the opening of East Ridge High School in 2009. He also helped organize the Woodbury High School Activities Hall of Fame, which inducted its inaugural class in 2012.

Gonnion credits Mary Jo Kurtz for helping introduce the idea for the hall of fame and volunteering along with other Woodbury boosters to get it started.

"It's impossible to state how much she has meant to the entire program," Gonnion said.

Between working during the day and attending activities at night, the hours can often be long for high school activities directors. With dozens of sports and activities, Gonnion said sometimes it is a challenge to get everything organized.

"You try and help the coaches and advisers, directors, students and parents as best as you can," Gonnion said. "But there really is only so much time in a day. The hours are long, but when you're really passionate about it, you love doing it."

East Ridge Principal Jim Smokrovich touted Gonnion's move as a plus for the high school.

"He brings a wealth of experiences as a teacher, a dean of students and as a principal in charge of activities at Woodbury High School," Smokrovich said in a news statement. "Jason is driven to succeed in order to meet the needs of our students and staff. He is unconditionally motivated to positively impact student achievement and the climate and culture of our school as a relationship-driven, student-centered individual."