By Starrla Cray
WINSTED, MN When students head back to Holy Trinity School in Winsted next week, they’ll be greeted by the smiling faces of new staff, including Dr. Bonita “Bonnie” Jungels.
Jungels was hired as principal in July, and she has high hopes for the upcoming school year.
“The people here have been so friendly, and so welcoming,” Jungels said.
Although she loved her previous principal job serving elementary students at St. John the Baptist Catholic School in Jordan, Jungels is excited to be at a school that includes older students, too.
The idea to work at a preschool through 12th grade school had been on Jungels’ mind since last summer, but she didn’t know if an opportunity close enough to her home in Chanhassen would arise.
When she saw the posting at Holy Trinity, Jungels and her husband, Mike, checked out the school, the lake, and the Winsted area. Although it was a hard decision to leave her old job, Jungels said she felt called to Holy Trinity.
“Most of my experience has been in Catholic education, and I just really love intertwining the Catholic faith into what we’re doing,” she said. “I think we have unique opportunities to talk about character in a different way, and to really talk about what God’s will is for us and how we’re going to live that out.”
This school year, Holy Trinity’s theme comes from 1 Corinthians 16:13-14: “Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong. And do everything in love.”
“My goal with this theme is really to feel unity here,” Jungels said.
She also has two other goals: “Excellence in joy, and excellence in academics.”
Jungels has placed vases of artificial sunflowers throughout the school, as a reminder of joy. She hopes to promote an atmosphere of Christ-centered positivity and care, where people can walk into the building and “feel it.”
For the academic portion, Jungels aims to guide staff as they create professional goals designed to encourage and celebrate student growth.
“I have the best job ever,” she said. “I love seeing students learn and grow.”
Jungels also enjoys making connections with her students, whether it’s talking about sports (she’s been to three or four Twins games this season), music (she’s a big fan of Keith Urban), or anything that’s going on in students’ lives.
Even as a child, Jungels knew her career would be in education.
“I was one of those kids who was in the basement, teaching stuffed animals,” she said.
Jungels has a bachelor’s degree in English and a minor/teaching licensure in secondary education from the College of St. Benedict. She also has a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of St. Thomas, middle school licensure from Hamline Unversity, and a doctorate in leadership, policy, and administration from the University of St. Thomas.
When she’s not at work, Jungels likes to work out, attend concerts, and spend time with her family. She and her husband are “empty nesters” now, with four children in college, and two already graduated.
At Holy Trinity, Jungels can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (320) 485-5650.