New Tartan principal officially on board

A new principal at Tartan High School will be taking the reins July 1.

At its May 22 meeting, the District 622 School Board hired Adam Ehrmantraut, who is currently an assistant principal at Minnetonka High School. Ehrmantraut's annual salary will be $122,560.

Ehrmantraut will replace current Principal John Bezek, who is leaving Tartan to take the job as assistant superintendent in the Shakopee district. Bezek has served as principal at Tartan since 2002.

School District 622 Assistant Superintendent Troy Miller noted Ehrmantraut was selected from more than 50 applicants, seven of whom were initially interviewed for the position and three of whom moved on to a final interview.

Previous experience

Ehrmantraut, 37, hasn't always worked in the education field.

He earned his bachelor's degree in accounting from the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management, and initially took a job as a financial analyst.

"It was missing real meaning for me," Ehrmantraut said of his initial job choice, adding that he'd always considered a career in education.

Ehrmantraut began substitute teaching in the St. Paul School District in the late 1990s, and said he realized he was "in the right spot" after just two weeks. During his time as a substitute teacher, he worked in a variety of K-12 classrooms, and said he benefited from the wide range of experience.

"It was a great way to test the market," Ehrmantraut noted.

He received his teaching license and earned his master's degree at the University of St. Thomas, and began teaching social studies and a business investment class at Benilde-St. Margaret's Catholic high school in St. Louis Park.

He received his principal's license and completed all of his doctoral coursework at St. Mary's University, and has been working on his dissertation for the past three years.

Ehrmantraut has served as assistant principal at Minnetonka High School for the past six years, and said he's proud of many things that have been accomplished during his time there, including the redesign of the school's alternative program which helped the school take a "huge bite" of the student failure rate, Ehrmantraut said.

Ehrmantraut said he's also proud of how Minnetonka High School has been able to integrate technology and new electronic devices, such as iPads, into its curriculum. In recent years, Minnetonka High School has been "transforming the culture toward an intense focus on academic progress for all of our kids," Ehrmantraut added.

East metro roots

Ehrmantraut lives in St. Paul's Mac-Groveland neighborhood with his wife, Mary, and their three kids, ages 5, 2 and 1.

He grew up in South St. Paul and said he was excited when the Tartan position opened up because he feels that Oakdale has many similarities to his hometown.

"I feel like it's my sister community," Ehrmantraut said.

After researching the position, Ehrmantraut said he began to meet students and other members of the Tartan community and realized the transition would be a "great fit" for him.

Ehrmantraut said that once he steps into his new role, his first priority will be to keep his ears open and listen to what Tartan faculty, students and parents have to say about the needs of the school. He added that it will be important for him to learn about Tartan's traditions and continue to improve student proficiency.

Superintendent Patty Phillips said she believes Ehrmantraut's high energy level and passion for his work will greatly benefit Tartan. She added that he is a well-respected administrator.

"People have nothing but good things to say about him," Phillips noted.

Phillips said Ehrmantraut gained valuable experience at Minnetonka High School -- a school of about 3,000 students with roughly 300 staff -- and she's confident he's "ready for the next move." She said she was impressed by his leadership qualities, ability to build relationships and work that he has done at Minnetonka to improve academic success rates and implement new technologies as part of the school's curriculum.

Phillips said District 622 has been exploring other options for curriculum and delivery at both Tartan and North high schools, so Ehrmantraut's experience with an iPad program and online learning at Minnetonka will be useful.

"He's going to bring in a new perspective and a new set of eyes, which is always great," Phillips added.

Alex Holmquist can be reached at aholmquist@lillienews.com or 651-748-7822.

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