Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal, July 23, 2001

Holy Trinity hires new principal

By Patrice Waldron

Change is underway at Holy Trinity High School in Winsted. A new principal has recently been hired, and is getting ready to start the upcoming, 2001-2002 school year.

The Rev. Paul Wolf has served as principal for the past three years.

It has generally been unique to the three years that's his been here, to have the parish priest serve as the high school principal, explained Wolf.

When asked why the change, in him no longer serving as Trinity High School principal, Wolf stated, "Historically, we've had a separate principal. It's time to go back to the way it was."

Holy Trinity's new principal, Mary Leary, was found through a network system. She was the sixth candidate to be interviewed for the position, and the one found to be the most qualified, and the one who would best fit the school's needs.

Leary may be new to Winsted, but she's not new to Minnesota, and she brings a wealth of knowledge with her, which has readied her for her new position.

Leary's past experience includes 14 years as a vocal music teacher at the junior high level. She has served, mostly in the Metro area, as a middle school principal, and also as an assistant high school principal. One year of her career was spent in northern Minnesota as principal of a school, grades 7 through 12.

"I think it's prepared me in many different areas of administration," said Leary of her various school experiences.

She takes her new position seriously, and sees herself, not just in a job position, but also as a leader, role model, and one who's there to support the high school staff and students.

"A woman leader in education, modeling what you hope is a good example," Leary commented.

As we talked, it became clear that her committment is to the school where she works, and that she believes in giving something back to the community.

"I feel I have a committment, at this stage, to share what I've learned all through the years," said Leary.

She has already moved, purchased a house, and is living in Winsted. There's a lot of support here in the community, and living here makes one feel a part of that community, she explained.

Although this will be her first experience working in a private school, she went to parachiol schools while growing up in the Twin Cities.

Her first impressions of Winsted and Holy Trinity have been very positive.

There is a smaller class ratio in a private school, compared to a public school. There are also high expectations, the public schools have to deal with a different set of conditions, explained Leary.

She also believes that there is a reinforcement of the belief system in a private school, and a definite pride in school that goes along with those beliefs.

"I was extremely impressed in the standards that the community supports," Leary said.

While serving as the Holy Trinity High School principal, there will be an open door policy. Parents, students, and teachers will be encouraged to stop by and talk.

"School life is comphrehensive. The key is communicating what we're about," said Leary.

The ideas of working together and having open lines of communication are seen as key elements in her philosophy of her job.

During the interview, it became obvious that she is happy to be in Winsted, and to have her new position as principal at Holy Trinity High School.

Comments about meeting the needs of those you're here to serve, giving something back to the community, and being honored to join the Holy Trinity staff, were also spoken by Leary.

"The strengths of the school are apparent and the pride shows. I'm here to build on the strengths, not make sweeping changes," concluded Leary.

On a personal level, she spoke of the love she has for her dog and cat, telling funny stories of their behavior. Fishing, outdoor activities, and reading are some of the activities she enjoys outside of work.

It's a time of change for both Holy Trinity and Mary Leary, but one that hopefully will go well for all involved. Mary displays knowledge of student life, shows enthusiasm for the task in front of her, and seems to have a giving spirit. It's my guess that both Holy Trinity and the Winsted community will benefit from her presence.

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