Molly Kensy promoted to Tech High School principal – SC Times

SAINT CLOUD — St. Cloud Tech High School has a new principal ahead of the first day of school for freshmen and new students Sept. 5. 
Molly Kensy was promoted to the role this summer after three years of assisting Jason Harris, who is assuming an assistant superintendent role amid lots of summer administrative reshuffling.
“Tech has a long history of academic excellence and we wanted to make sure that the person we brought in was committed to maintaining that high standard,” Superintendent Lauri Putnam said. “Molly is absolutely that person. What’s amazing about Molly is that she also combines it with just a love of students.” 
Kensy makes it a point to know every student’s name and said she is looking forward to meeting them and their families at the high school’s open house Aug. 29. 
“I’m excited to get back to supporting students, staff and families,” she said. “For me, it is that partnership — getting parents, students and teachers at the table looking at goals to help make students more successful.” 
Harris was also promoted. He will be the district’s lead on secondary education, taking over for a retiring Kay Nelson. In addition to him and Nicole Hansen, the new assistant superintendent of elementary education, Putnam has added a third assistant to her cabinet: the assistant superintendent of educational services. Dr. Michael Rivard will be taking the lead on several programs such as special education, English learners, nursing, social work and triage response. He was previously in charge of elementary education and Hansen was principal of Telahi Elementary.
“We ended up reducing two executive level positions and then several director-level positions,” Putnam said. “And the reason we did that is when you look at other districts our size, we were heavy from a district administration position, and I wanted to be able to put those resources into our classrooms.” 
She said the administration changes directly corresponded to lowering kindergarten class sizes by an average of three students. 
Sam Court is returning to Talahi Elementary School as principal after a brief stint as the ROCORI School District’s interim superintendent. He was a teacher at the school 2013-16 and before taking the interim job, he was principal at John Clark Elementary in the ROCORI school district. 
Tech’s assistant principals are one-year veteran Hillary Johnson and first-year assistant principals Abdirashid Saney and Julie Granberg. 
Kensy is from Lino Lakes and moved to central Minnesota around 2005. Before launching a career in education, Kensy coached youth dance. She owned Element Dance Studio in Wyoming and was the director of dance at the North Crest Kids Activity Center for several years in Sauk Rapids before deciding to go back to school, earning a bachelor’s in elementary education in 2015. In 2020, she completed a master’s in educational and administration leadership. Both degrees were earned at St. Cloud State University. 
After student teaching in the area, Kensy taught fourth grade for three years in the Becker school district. From there she became a dean at Apollo High School and then assistant principal at Tech in 2020. She still lives in Becker and has two children who are students outside the district. 
Kensy likes finding the unique assets of students she works with, “And then from there building on their strengths and helping them see their possibilities,” she said. Students have more successful outcomes when they have relationships at school built on shared trust. The same is true for teachers, she said. 
Putnam said the district would like to see graduation rates continue to climb at Tech, especially in “underserved communities.” Last year the school’s graduation rate was 78.5%, up from 77.4% in 2021, but down from 81.4% in 2019. The state average is 83.5%. 
Kensy is proud of Tech’s programs that check in with students who are often disengaged or absent. In addition to extracurricular activities, there are specific programs dedicated to creating a community for students. The Building Assets Reducing Risk program ensures that freshmen and sophomores have class schedules that are built around the same group of teachers who meet once per week to discuss student needs. 
She also cited college and career pathways that set goals and reveal opportunities beyond high school. 
“Sometimes we think that these kids should have answers and know where they want to go, and it’s okay to not, but they need to figure out who to ask and how to get support,” Kensy said. “Sometimes that strong accountability of ‘show up, we got you, do well.’ … Once they get there, we can help them do well. We can help them get meals. We can help them with job applications, and FAFSA, and getting through geometry. But if they don’t just walk through the door, we can’t do that.” 


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