Herald Journal, May 9, 2005
Kielkucki returning to Holy Trinity as principal
By Lynda Jensen
To the surprise and excitement of many including his wife, Lavon Tony Kielkucki of Lester Prairie accepted the permanent principal position at Holy Trinity Schools, effective July 1.
Father Paul Wolf confirmed the contract agreement last week, saying that he looked forward to the arrangement.
“It was a huge decision,” Kielkucki said. He described it as a calling for him; a life decision that clicked into place.
“I’ve been in Catholic education all my life,” he said. Even during his successful legislative career, he has been working part-time for Holy Trinity, he said.
Kielkucki has coached football for 24 years at Holy Trinity, and taught religious studies since 1981. The Kielkuckis moved to Winsted in 1979, during which Tony traveled to Mound for two years as a teacher for that district.
Previously, he acted as the interim high school principal from 1984 to 1987, and served as dean of students there in 1982.
Wolf approached him with the idea about a month ago, Kielkucki said.
Kielkucki took two weeks to think about it. Lavon was “kind of shocked” that Tony was thinking of such a change, he said.
Tony took many things into consideration, and received positive feedback from many people. He thought about the long-term impact, the stability of Holy Trinity, and even the pope’s passing, he said.
Nevertheless, in the end, the decision he made was to return to his life’s work, leaving behind his position as deputy secretary of state.
A church-goer at Holy Trinity summed it up best when she said, “I’m glad you’re coming home,” Tony said.
The timing of his new position also works well for the legislative clock, since he will finish out the legislative session and pick up the school year budget cycle, both of which work on a biennium basis. The new two-year process for both begins in July.
He is also looking forward to missing the 60-mile commute from Lester Prairie to the capitol at St. Paul, he said.
One of the first things he will be doing is acting as a chaperone for the annual student mission trip. This year, the students will be working at the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota.
Turning the corner
Kielkucki leaves behind an impressive record of public service.
Most recently, he accepted the prestigious position as deputy secretary of state, heading up the elections office for Secretary of State Mary Kiffmeyer.
In this capacity, Kielkucki worked closely with the legislature; working with committees, helping to implement election law changes, being called to testify, and so forth, he said.
His role was to help apply election law changes, watching and guiding changes through the legislature, he said.
Before then, he served seven legislative sessions as a state representative, completing three-and-a-half terms.
As a state representative, Kielkucki was the assistant majority leader for five years, and served on the Republican caucus during his entire length of service.
Kielkucki was first elected in 1996, replacing Rep. Tony Onnen, who did not run at the time.