Jefferson Elementary was built in 1963 in a new residential area in Blaine. All the students were walkers. Carroll Strahl was the principal who opened the building that year. Gerald Kleve became principal in1964 when Mr. Strahl opened Sand Creek Elementary in our same district. He stayed for two years. Over the years, the Jefferson population fluctuated from 600 to a high of 775 students during the 1990-91 school year! They were all walkers through much of the 1970s. Boundaries changed and the Carrara East addition and the neighborhoods north of Oak Park Boulevard were included in the Jefferson attendance area. Buses were now an important part of the morning and dismissal routines.
In 1966, Ken Kunshier became principal of Jefferson. He stayed for 30 years! Mr. Kunshier went from middle-management to site-base management during his tenure. Under the direction of Mr. Kunshier, the staff at Jefferson remained consistent with few transfers. He oversaw the addition of the portables, a new playground, a running track, and special education department. He also helped establish a paid Volunteer Assistant position with support from the PTO.
Upon Mr. Kunshier's retirement in 1996, Roxy Wellner joined the Jefferson staff as principal. Under her direction, the school established a Jefferson Outdoor Pride Day which landscaped the grounds, built a Jefferson Community Nature Area with trails, and encouraged environmental education. She promoted technology, student extracurricular activities, new playground equipment, more parking spaces, and guided reading initiatives. Mrs. Wellner died in September 2001, after a long fight with Leukemia.
Jefferson had an interim principal, Cindy Hitt, who filled in during the time Mrs. Wellner was on medical leave. She supported the staff and continued many of Mrs. Wellner's projects. The staff and the community appreciated her leadership.
After Mrs. Hitt's appointment, Karen Reines became interim principal during the 2000-02 school years. Mrs. Reines came from Ramsey Elementary where she was a dean for two years. Under Mrs. Reines direction, Jefferson Elementary staff worked hard to implement the Minnesota Graduation Rule. A balanced literacy approach was developed to help teachers work towards the goal: All children will be able to read independently and well by the end of third grade.
Kimberly Pavlovich joined the staff in January of 2003 from her role as principal at Cedar Elementary. She was immersed in the No Child Left Behind initiative and the new Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) testing. Jefferson became an English Language Learner (ELL) center at the start of the 2003 school year. A runner for many years, Mrs. Pavlovich created a simple run/walk program in 2004 that gave the entire school community an alternative to the couch and television. In the winter of 2005, Jefferson incorporated wireless technology with the purchase of two mobile carts of 10 Macintosh computers each, with the help of the Parent Teacher Organization. Since then, the labs have increased to over 60 computers running OSX. The fall of 2006, Jefferson became a wireless campus. Teachers use these laptops extensively in the classroom to support the curriculum. Mrs. Pavlovich moved from Jefferson Elementary to Johnsville Elementary in the fall of 2009.
Marcia Beyer was the principal at Jefferson from 2010-14. She was involved in planning two additions to Jefferson to include three kindergarten rooms, seven classrooms, a music room and flexible work spaces for students and staff to work in.
Mark Hansen came to Jefferson as Principal in 2014. Mark was a third grade, first grade and kindergarten teacher at Madison Elementary in Blaine before becoming Principal at Mississippi Elementary in Coon Rapids in 2004. Mark was very happy to return to Blaine and loves working in the Jefferson neighborhood. During the fall of 2015 an Assistant Principal was added to the staff and Lisa Newberger was welcomed into the school community. ENVoY Training is one focus the staff has engaged in over the last two years and the teachers and paras in a very short period of time have become "certified" in ENVoY practices
. Starting in the fall of 2016 the P.T.O. will be focusing on raising funds to make some additions to the playground. Mr. Hansen and Mrs. Newberger welcome family engagement in the school community and love to connect with families in many ways. Feel free to call, email or stop in and connect with them!