By Starrla Cray
HOWARD LAKE, WAVERLY, WINSTED, MN Like many kids growing up in small Minnesota towns, Windom native Jason Mix yearned for a new place to live.
“The first chance I got to get out [of Minnesota], I left. Now, I’m begging to get back,” he said.
As Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted High School’s new principal, Mix will be soon able to do just that.
“I appreciate the opportunity to lead the high school,” said Mix, whose contract will start July 1. “I’m very excited to move the district forward and build the bridges to make this a school district that all three communities can be proud of and be involved in.”
Mix, who comes from a family of educators, finds great enjoyment in teaching and leading others.
“It’s just who I am,” he said.
After earning a degree in geology from the University of Minnesota Morris in 2001, Mix became a life science teacher in Palm Springs, CA.
In 2005, he switched to Cathedral City High School, where he taught earth science. It was during this time that he earned a master’s degree in educational administration from California State University.
Because of his love for coaching and teaching, Mix hadn’t originally planned to move into administration. However, by the end of his master’s coursework, which included two principal internships, he had discovered a new passion.
“I think I am a natural leader, and I want to have a large impact on the educational environment at the school,” he said.
Mix served as dean of students at Desert Springs Middle School in Palm Springs for two years, working with a diverse student population. More than three-fourths came from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, and more than a third were English learners.
Mix also serves a wide demographic in his current position in DeKalb, IL. As middle school principal, he has created a school improvement plan focusing on reading and math student achievement, and strives to make a positive impact on school culture and climate.
In 2010, Mix also completed a 330-plus-hour internship in DeKalb, participating in the design and review of a new $88 million high school.
This summer, Mix hopes to have his Ph.D. in leadership in educational administration from Capella University.
He is looking forward to directing his energy toward HLWW High School, helping to make the district “the best school around.”
“It takes time, but I believe we can do that,” he said, adding that the school already has a lot going for it.
“I’m very impressed with how welcoming everyone has been,” he said.
Mix and his family will also have several extended family members welcoming them back to Minnesota.
“We have 30 or 40 people helping us move in,” he said.
Mix’s wife, Cassie, is a math teacher who grew up in Mankato. The couple has two daughters, Natalie, 4, and Allison, 2.
In his spare time, Mix enjoys baseball, golf, exercising, and spending as much time with his family as possible.