Tryggestad steps in as school superintendent

Tryggestad (left) met with community members – including Pine Technical and Community College President Joe Mulford – at an Aug. 8 event.

Curt Tryggestad, Pine City’s new superintendent of schools, said it feels like a natural step to take on the role as leader of School District 578.

“It’s great," Tryggestad said. “This felt like coming home. It has been the easiest transition of any job that I’ve ever had because of the community and the school and the people that are here.

Tryggestad was a principal in Pine City from 1997-2003 before taking the job as superintendent of the Esko School District where he stayed for three years. He moved on to Little Falls where he spent six years, then Eden Prairie for five years, then the Perpich Center for Arts Education for two years.

“It’s a good fit,” Tryggestad said. “Part of my path has been going into places that had some issues. I don’t feel that way at all here. I feel like I’m coming into a place that’s really working well and will just get better.”

Tryggestad was named 2017 Minnesota Superintendent of the Year while working in Eden Prairie.

“There was a lot of healing that needed to go on in that community because it was after the time when they did some redistricting, and the superintendent prior to me lost her job over it,” he said. “We had to get back on track of worrying about kids and not about some of this other stuff going on. I built a good team there, we were able to do some really good things for kids throughout the program. [The award] might have been directed at me, but it was for the district and for the school board, because none of us can do this by ourselves. It just felt really good. And it kind of brought the community

back together again.” He said he has mixed feelings about leaving the

Perpich Center for Arts Education. “I could have stayed there and finished out my career there,” Tryggestad said. “We had the Perpich Center on a good trajectory, and I certainly hope that the people that are there now continue that. They just named the new principal. He’s going to be a great fit

for the Perpich Center. “This was just too good an opportunity, both

personally and professionally. I’ve spent 16 years in Pine County between Hinckley and here. My wife is recently retired, so she wasn’t locked into a position ... and I was able to come back to a place where I have

friends and family and I believe in the school district. So it just fell together.”

Pine City School Board Member Wally Connaker has known Tryggestad since they worked together in Pine City, and said he was delighted to welcome him

back to the school district. “I spent five years sitting in the office next to him as activities director,” Connaker said. “Many times we had some tough issues to face and I was well aware of his ability to attack the problem and do the right thing. “Then, over the years, I have known many people throughout the state [who knew Tryggestad] ... and everything that we heard was completely positive,” Connaker continued. “His reputation, his credentials

were just outstanding.” The maximum contract for school superintendents

is three years. Tryggestad was noncommittal when asked if he would want to stay on in Pine City beyond that time. “I won’t say no and I won’t say yes,” he said. “Legally, we can’t even talk about an extension until the third year.”

Connaker said he has every confidence in Tryggestad’s ability to do the job.

“He’s a good fit,” Connaker said. “His work ethic – growing up on a farm when you aren’t done in eight hours – that’s what administration is like too. I’ve

seen him before, and I know exactly what we’re going to get.”

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