‘A place to grow’  As Malo becomes AHS principal, she aims to give students space to thrive

Published 7:51 am Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Andrea Malo is no stranger to kids — she has been a part of the Austin School District for 19 years.

First as a social studies teacher, then as assistant principal, she has steadily grown in her experience and her love of education.

Starting on July 1, she will step to the position of principal. Her predecessor, Katie Baskin, will take over the principal’s post at Southgate Elementary School.

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Malo, 39, is both excited and a little sad with the change. She said she has been proud of being a part of the administrative team with Baskin, who is also a good friend.

“Katie has laid a very strong foundation” in several areas of the position. Malo is proud, she said, to continue that work, especially in “teachnology,” or rather, working with instructors and personalizing technology specific to their classrooms and curriculum.


“That is definitely a direction we want to continue,” she said. She also looks forward to working with fellow administrators and teachers on the school’s strategic plan, and working with teachers to support them in building leadership skills. She also wants to reach out to the community to create partnerships and awareness.

And most of all, of course, she looks forward to continuing her work with “our students. I truly love working with kids.”

Her journey in education began with taking family trips with her parents and brother to spots “all over the United States” that she is sure sparked her interest in history.

“We were always learning about other places, other people,” she said.

That inspired her to follow her love of history into college, where she earned her undergraduate degree in social studies at Concordia College in St. Paul. She earned her master’s degree in educational leadership at Southwest Minnesota State University and earned her principal’s license at Mankato State University. She found she loved teaching history to students, especially her favorite era: the Colonist and Revolutionary War eras. She was particularly happy with her work in landing a Teaching American History (TAH) grant, which allowed her to work collaboratively with other districts on teaching local and state history. She also worked closely with students as a Student Council adviser and arranging trips to Washington, D. C.

“It was great; it showed students that teaching history did not necessarily mean teaching history that took place somewhere else,” she said.

Taking a step to the assistant principal’s position came with the urging of her husband, Kane, who is an English Language instructor at Ellis Middle School. Malo has not only enjoyed working closely with students and developing student leaders, but expanding her reach of influence. The net will be cast wider as she becomes principal.

Still, she said, her goal in education remains the same as it did on Day One: “It’s about creating a good place for kids to grow … and developing skills to make them be the best they can be. And I will give my best, everyday.”