Krenz: 2019-20 a year like no other

Published 7:01 am Saturday, June 13, 2020

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You made it!  The 2019-20 school year was certainly a year of firsts and will not soon be forgotten.  First of all, hats off to all the students and their families for continuing to work hard to keep the learning moving forward.

We understand this was a very difficult time, but you did it! We also want to thank our outstanding teachers who worked tirelessly to put together curriculum in an entirely new format from how they typically prepare for each day all while keeping those connections with their students alive.

The yard signs, the virtual visits, the upbeat videos, and the parades demonstrate the outstanding character and work ethic of our Austin Public Schools teachers and amazing support staff.

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Special recognition also needs to go to Mary Weikum and staff members who helped with the lunch/breakfast meal distribution.  A total of 149,581 free meals were distributed between March 18 and May 29 from the various sites throughout the community. Wow!

I also want to recognize Jen Lawhead, Teri Wermager and the entire Kids Korner staff for their work providing childcare to our community’s essential workers during this time. This required a lot of extra planning and coordination and you rose to the challenge to provide this important service.

I would also be remiss if I didn’t recognize our technology department for keeping folks connected, Brian Beasley and his entire custodial team for all the extra sanitation, and our entire administrative team and support staff for their work behind the scenes to keep things running.  It is indeed a great time to be  a Packer!

For those wondering about plans for the fall, please know we are working hard to put together various scenarios on what the schedule might look like, but we will wait for guidance from the state before plans are finalized.  Please stay tuned and let us continue to hope that we can get back in the classroom soon.

We have had to delay our retirement celebration for the staff who have retired throughout the past school year until we can safely gather.  I would like to take this opportunity to publicly thank these individuals for devoting their careers to education. You have touched so many lives throughout your career, and we thank you for your dedication to Austin Public School students.


Charles Brandt – 22 years

Lisa Deyo – 34 years

Sharon Hoefflin – 20 years

Norma Olson – 26 years

Wayne Olson – 19 years

Violet Osmonson – 5 years

Jeannie Rogers – 5 years

Greg Wehner – 32 years

Marsha Wilson – 35 years

Guidance Counselor

Joe Ott – 39 years


Bill Flahive – 9 years

Julius Gibson – 20 years

Mike Raso – 13 years

Al Stark – 21 years

Food and Nutrition Services

Polly Apold – 4 years

Marilyn Hull – 22 years

Marie Knutson – 26 years

Kelly Reed – 22 years

Karen Tracy – 2 years

Karen Vaith – 8 years


Terri Graham – 9 years

Diane Slowinski – 3 years

Kids Korner

Vicki Chidester – 21 years

Char O’Leary Pink – 13 years


Mary Medinnus – 7 years

And finally, I would like to recognize the graduates of the class of 2020!  You made the very best of all the missed memories, but I hope you can look back at your time spent at Austin High School and remember some great times with friends and surrounded by teachers and staff that cared about you.

Principals Andrea Malo, Derik Gustafson, Matt Schmit and Karen Dunbar along with the counseling team and support staff along with the amazing work of our videographer Ryan Mayers put together an outstanding send off for our graduates.

Alumnus Dylan Kaercher and friend Megan Rae Smith organized a wonderful parade for our graduates, allowing the entire community to share this special day with our graduates.

We are extremely fortunate to have had all the assistance from Hormel Foods to help make this year’s graduation special.  From the generous financial support for Project Graduation to the senior pictures on the fence at Wescott, to the professional photographer present during diploma presentation to the banner flown from an airplane during the diploma distribution, we cannot thank you enough for all you do for Austin Public Schools.  A shout out to the Austin Area Arts as well for allowing the use of the marquee for special graduation messages and APAC for their inspirational messages.

During this time of crisis, so many staff and community members have stepped in to help keep things moving forward for students, and I thank you.  I have said it before, and I will say it again, we at Austin Public Schools are so thankful for this community and their support of education.