Through high school and college, Ranae Case-Evenson found herself working with children and enjoyed bringing out the best in people. Entering the field of education seemed to be a natural thing to do, her “path.” Now Case-Evenson, the former principal of Eisenhower Elementary School, finds her path bringing her back to the Anoka-Hennepin School District to serve as the principal of Wilson Elementary School.
A native of Fairfax in western Minnesota, Case-Evenson earned her undergraduate degree in teaching at Winona State University, graduate degree in teaching and learning and secondary education at Minnesota State University – Mankato and completed her administrative licensure work at St. Mary’s University.
Case-Evenson’s first job was at St. Andrew’s Catholic School in her hometown of Fairfax. St. Andrew’s is a small school and Case-Evenson was able to teach every grade level and content area. She said it was a great way to get a good grasp of all curriculum areas and see students at all ages.
From Fairfax, Case-Evenson moved into teaching English and social studies to fifth-, sixth- and seventh-grade students in the Gibbon-Fairfax-Winthrop (GFW) School District. She then taught sixth- and seventh-grade reading and social studies in the Jordan School District.
Case-Evenson made the decision to go into administration because it seemed like a logical step for her. It’s a role she’s enjoyed because of the different people she works with.
“As a principal, you get to work with kids, parents, the community, the teaching staff and other principals,” she said. “I’m a people person, so being able to expand the group of people who work together to help kids is very rewarding.”
Case-Evenson’s first job as a principal was at the elementary school in the Springfield School District, which is located west of New Ulm. In that position, Case-Eveson also worked as the K-12 district assessment coordinator, with federal grants and Title funding, and oversaw staff development as well as curriculum.
“It was a very busy job, but it was good training,” Case-Evenson said.
In 2009, Case-Evanson was named the principal at Eisenhower Elementary School. When several schools were closed at the end of the school year, staff changes were made, Case-Evenson left the district and was named principal at Horace May Elementary School in Bemidji.
In addition to being a K-5 school, Horace May is the site of the district’s programs for students with emotional/behavioral disorders (EBD) and developmental cognitive disabilities (DCD), and Case-Evenson was in charge of all pre-K–5 early childhood special education (ECSE) programs.
“Part of the reason that wearing multiple hats doesn’t faze me is because my training as a teacher was to teach multiple things to multiple levels,” Case-Evenson said. “I am accustomed to taking a look at the best parts of a program and building on it. I’ve had many experiences that have played into my strengths; it’s been a gift.”
Case-Evenson had not wanted to leave the Anoka-Hennepin School District and she’s glad to be back.
“I’ll cherish my time in Bemidji and it was a great school district, but it was so far from family,” she said. “And Anoka-Hennepin felt like a good fit the first time around. When the opportunity to come back presented itself I had to jump on it. The principals, teachers and communities here are amazing. It feels really good to be back and be part of that.”