By Starrla Cray
DELANO, MN As a former student, teacher, and principal, Delano Public School’s new superintendent Matt Schoen is a leader who loves to learn.
“I’m very passionate about maintaining educational excellence,” said Schoen, who was selected as superintendent after Dr. John Sweet retired June 30.
Previously, Schoen had been principal of Delano High School, a position he accepted in 2007.
Although he enjoyed serving at the high school, Schoen said he is looking forward to expanding his leadership role to the entire district.
“I’m going to be very focused on giving all students exposure to the ultimate value of learning that’s out there,” he said.
Milan to Minnesota
Although Schoen was born in the Twin Cities, he spent his elementary school years in Milan, Italy, where his father was transferred for work.
When the family returned to Minnesota, Schoen went to high school, and later continued his education at St. John’s University in Collegeville.
Schoen coached junior varsity soccer during college, which sparked a passion for working with youth.
“I’d always been interested in education, but I didn’t really make that decision until my freshmen year of college,” said Schoen, who majored in social sciences and minored in secondary education.
After graduation, Schoen served as a social studies department chair/teacher at St. Agnes High School in St. Paul from 1989 to 1996.
By 1996, Schoen had completed his master’s degree in secondary education administration from the University of St. Thomas. He later went on to receive a specialist degree in education administration from the University of St. Thomas, and his superintendent licensure in 2010 from St. Cloud State University.
Prior to coming to Delano, Schoen was principal of St. Mary’s School in Worthington from 1996 to 1999, assistant high school principal at Owatonna High School from 1999 to 2003, and principal of Columbia Heights High School from 2003 to 2007.
When the position of high school principal opened up in Delano in 2007, Schoen was excited to make the move.
“My wife and I had been in Columbia Heights, which is north of Minneapolis, and we wanted to get a little bit further out again,” he said. “Delano came up as a beautiful opportunity.”
At that time, Schoen’s daughter, Samantha, was a senior in high school. Now, she is a nursing student at St. Cloud State University. Schoen’s son, Bobby, graduated from Delano High School in 2010; and the youngest son, Lucas, graduated in 2012.
Now that their children are leaving home, Schoen said he and his wife, Laura, will have more time to start some hobbies.
Right now, though, both of them are focused on Delano Public Schools, where Laura serves as a substitute teacher. Schoen said he is proud to be part of the district, and is excited for the opportunity to make a contribution.
“I have nothing but the best things to say about this school,” he said.