Matt Menier has been named to fill the shoes left by Anoka High School activities director (AD) John Baufield, who retired after serving 13 years in that position.
While Menier loved his job working in marketing for a computer software company, he didn’t feel he was making a difference like he did as a counselor at Lake Wapogasset Lutheran Bible Camp in Amery, Wis.
“I had enjoyed working with young minds and helping kids,” said Menier, who worked at Lake Wapogasset during college. “I had liked how excited kids got for learning and new experiences. And there is just something about kids’ energy that gives you energy. That is something I was missing in the corporate world.”
Thinking how great it would be to have the same feelings he had while working at the camp, Menier made the decision to go into teaching.
Originally from Roseville, Menier earned his undergraduate degree in speech communication from Southwest State University. After working for the computer software company for six years, he got his master’s degree and did his administrative license work at St. Mary’s University.
“I took night classes and got my masters and license at the same time,” he said. “I haven’t regretted making the switch for a single second.”
Menier began his teaching career in the Bloomington School District where he taught ninth-grade civics and 10th-grade world history at Jefferson High School. After one year, he made his move to the Anoka-Hennepin School District where he taught eighth-grade social studies at the former Sandburg Middle School.
Menier worked as a professional learning community (PLC) coordinator at Sandburg and the former Fred Moore Middle School before becoming an assistant principal (AP) at Anoka Middle School for the Arts (AMSA). Menier also spent three years as a coach at Andover High School.
When Baufield retired at the close of the 2010-2011 school year, Menier applied for the open position. He began his duties as the new AD earlier this month.
“I’ve always had a passion for sports and activities and have participated in sports my entire life,” Menier said. “In high school, I was on the basketball and track teams and was a member of the choir and student council. When I think of high school, those are the experiences I think about. Extra-curricular activities are important for students to feel connected to a school.”
For Menier, it’s important for students to learn that activities are not about wins and losses, but about teamwork, building character and making good decisions. Menier also wants these principles to shine through the coaching staff he is leading.
“We are creating future leaders who will go on to do great things,” Menier said. “Many of them may go on to become coaches themselves and shape the next generation of kids. I will work to lead with honesty and integrity.”
In the coming year, Menier said he will work to better understand the “Anoka family.” He will make himself visible to students and staff as well as the community.
“I will carry on the tradition of what it means to be an Anoka Tornado,” Menier said. “Things are already in place and that is a testament to the previous leadership. My goal is to make sure we continue to strive for excellence.”
Menier said he has heard nothing but good things about AHS’s administrative team, which includes his friend Tim Fine, also an AP, whom he met about 20 years ago at Lake Wapogasset. He has also met some of the AHS coaches and said he is looking forward to get rolling with activities.
“I’m excited to help students find that connection to school outside of the school day,” he said. “That’s the biggest reason I took this position; I want to get kids involved and feel proud to be an Anoka Tornado.”