When you learn Mark VanVoorhis is from Wisconsin, you also quickly learn that he is a “die-hard Packer fan.” In his first day as Andover Elementary School’s new principal, his framed photo of famed Packers Coach Vince Lombardi was already hanging on the wall.
With an interest in sports, after graduating from the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse with a degree in business, VanVoorhis was studying to be a college athletic director at Eastern Illinois University when his plans changed. VanVoorhis attended a class with his roommate who was getting a master’s degree in education.
“I observed the class and I fell in love with it,” VanVoorhis said. “I thought this was something I could see myself doing.”
VanVoorhis transferred to the University of Wisconsin-River Falls where he earned a graduate degree in elementary education. Later he would attend St. Cloud State University for his administrative work.
After graduating from River Falls, VanVoorhis joined the Anoka-Hennepin School District where he has spent his career. Staring out as a first- and third-grade teacher at McKinley Elementary School, VanVoorhis did an administrative internship at Dayton Elementary, returned to McKinley where he was dean of students for two years, did his first stint at Andover Elementary as a dean of students and returned to McKinley where he served as the school’s principal for nine years.
With Alice Shea’s retirement, VanVoorhis now finds himself back at Andover as the school principal.
Taking on a larger role in a larger school, VanVoorhis is glad to be back at Andover.
“I like working with an administrative team,” VanVoorhis said. “And I live in Andover so I look forward to working with the community.” VanVoorhis’s wife, Tamara, is a first-grade teacher at Rum River Elementary School.
As the new principal, VanVoorhis said he looks forward to getting to know the staff, students and families and working with them to continue to improve the school.
“I enjoy hiring the best staff I can hire and empowering them to take on leadership roles,” VanVoorhis said. “And I enjoy having an impact on all students and to provide the support their families need.”