Mike Koenig, who helped open Rum River Elementary School in 2001 as a third-grade teacher and has worked as the school’s assistant principal for more than five years, has been named the new principal of McKinley Elementary School.
A native of Warroad in northern Minnesota, Koenig earned an associate’s degree from Northland Community & Technical College in Thief River Falls and a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Minnesota State University – Moorhead. Koenig received his graduate degree in teaching and completed his coursework for an administrative license at Hamline University.
Out of college, Koenig worked as a substitute teacher in Moorhead. When a friend teaching at St. Stephen’s School in Anoka encouraged him to move to the area, he did. (Also playing a part in this decision was that his girlfriend, now wife, had accepted a third-grade teaching position in the Cambridge School District, a position she still holds.)
Prior to teaching at Rum River, Koenig was a third-grade teacher at Lincoln Elementary School.
Koenig hadn’t thought of becoming a teacher when he started college, but many people advised him he should.
“As I talked to more people they also told me they thought it would be a good fit,” said Koenig, who had during high school taught kids swimming and during college coached baseball. “And the more I got in to it, the more I liked it.”
Koenig moved into administration because it offered an opportunity to continue to work with kids, but to also work with adults. He also enjoys being an administrator in the district his children attend school; he has a child at Northdale Middle School and another child at Eisenhower Elementary School.
The biggest thing he misses about working in the classroom is the close connections teachers make with their students and families throughout the school year, according to Koenig.
While it was hard to leave Rum River and the connections he has made with staff, students and families over the years, Koenig said he looks forward to working at McKinley and continuing the work of former Principal Mark VanVoorhis, who is now the principal at Andover Elementary School.
“There are quality things going on at McKinley and students are receiving a great education,” he said. “The test scores are phenomenal and I want to keep that going. Mark had high expectations for staff, students and himself and that’s something I want to continue.”