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WLA's next chapter: WLA delays adding eighth graders for 2016

People may say you can never go home again, but that's not the case for Woodbury Leadership Academy's Director Darlah Krug.

Krug returned to WLA in February as the new director after having helped found WLA in 2012 when the school received approval from the Minnesota Department of Education.

"The decision to come back for me was an easy decision to make because my heart is in this school," she said. "It's exciting to be able to return to where I started, it's like coming home."

A passion for education

Krug knew she wanted to be a teacher from her very first day of kindergarten.

"From the moment I walked into kindergarten my teacher was impactful and influential," she said. "I knew from that moment forward I wanted to be a teacher and a pursued it."

Krug attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she received her degree in elementary education.

Krug bounced around between Wisconsin and Minnesota at various schools before landing at Footprints Academy in Woodbury.

Krug taught at Footprints Academy for three years before serving as the school's principal for three years.

Footprints Academy closed in 2014.

During her time at Footprints Academy, Krug and other members of the community came up with the idea of starting a new charter school.

"I had an idea to offer more parents choice," she said.

After filling out the application, developing curriculum, hiring staff and finding a spot, Krug finally was able to see her dream realized when WLA opened its doors in the fall of 2014.

"In my education experience, my greatest accomplishment hands down is Woodbury Leadership Academy," she said.

Looking to the future

Since WLA is only in its second year of operation, it's not much of a surprise that it has suffered from its fair share of growing pains.

During the past two years WLA has struggled with trying to find its identity, in addition to facing conflict between parents and staff.

Additionally, WLA went through a transition period earlier this school year when former director Dan Hurley resigned.

"We will move it forward," Krug said. "The past is the past, but you can always learn from the past."

Krug said she is excited for WLA to continue to moving forward.

"I take every day one day at a time," she said. "Things are moving in the right direction.

"We want to get back to that original vision."

Of WLA's mission and vision, Krug said it really comes down to the students.

"It's making sure every day that these smiling faces who come into school are being challenged, reaching their greatest potential, becoming leaders and great citizens of the world," she said, "and for children to truly be successful it takes a partnership."

Krug said she would like to continue on WLA's successes in the future.

"Twenty-five years from now when I'm driving through Woodbury to see Woodbury Leadership Academy thriving," she said. "I wouldn't want to be anywhere else, even given the turmoil that may have been, I wouldn't change it for the world."

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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