School board member says goodbye

Greg Larson ran for the Austin Public Schools Board to do something for his community. After a good term, Larson decided it was time to say goodbye.

“I just feel really good after serving three years on the board and learning more,” Larson said.

Larson

Larson

Larson moved to Austin in 1978. He has worked at Hill, Larson, Walth & Benda, P.A. in the certified public appliance office since moving to town. His two sons are now 32 and 34 and live in the Twin Cities, but after good experiences with Austin Public Schools, Larson knew he wanted to get involved in education.

“I had alway thought about running for the school board,” he said. “If I was going to do something for the community that was where I’d want to do it was in the education area.”

Although it was a good term, Larson decided to step down.

He couldn’t pinpoint a specific reason why, but it was just time for him to start another phase. He found out shortly into his term that he was a new grandfather. He was also busy with other activities, like the Lions Club.

“I do feel a little different for not running,” he said. “I just felt that it was the right thing for me to do.”

Larson was excited to be voted onto the school board three years ago. After taking a leadership class through the Austin Chamber of Commerce about four years ago, Larson spent some time learning about the education system in Austin. He was also involved in the discussion group regarding I.J. Holton Intermediate School, which hadn’t been approved yet.

When election time came around at the end of 2011, he felt it was the right time to get involved.

“I was fortunate,” Larson said. “When I got elected was the same time they approved the building of I.J. Holton.”

That was one of several reasons he decided to run for the board; to show positive support for the building. He also felt it was important because not many people were running for the board when he signed up.

“It’s been a pretty exciting three years,” he said.

After a year on the board, the board members appointed Larson chairperson.

“I was fortunate to be the chairperson,” Larson said. “I don’t know, again I’m not the politician so it’s just interesting to how that worked.”

He added, “It was just an honor to do that.”

Larson was on the policy committee, and although he understands why some might not think it very exciting, he always enjoyed working on district committees.

“I think we enjoyed all the committees we were on, but some people might think those committees might be mundane,” Larson said. “But I didn’t.”

He also enjoyed watching the district incorporate gifted and talented programs such as Pi Academy, watching the sports and music programs, and observing success coaches help children with a home language other than English.

“That’s a huge thing,” Larson said. “Those people are a big part of why I think we’re closing the achievement gap; the success coaches and the teachers.”

Larson was excited to see how much things changed over his three years on the board, and he said it doesn’t look like it will stop anytime soon. He has faith in the board moving forward, and in the new board member, Peggy Young.

“I know they’ll do a good job,” Larson said. “And Peggy Young’s going to do a good job going forward.”

The board gave Larson an award at its regular meeting on Dec. 8, honoring him for his three years of service.

“All six of the other board members have been very nice to work with for me and I appreciate the support,” Larson said. “I just wish the best for the board for next year.”

He also thanked Superintendent David Krenz and administrative assistant Sharon Alms, along with everyone he worked with on the committees he participated in, the school staff, and the Hormel Foundation for all its support.

The board made many decisions over the last three years, and Larson was glad to be a part of the team.

“I’d like to think I made a difference,” Larson said. “… I tried to do what was right for the children and for the staff at the district. I think we made a difference as a group — I can’t say I did as an individual — but I think the board made a difference.”

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