New Meadowbrook Elementary Principal Faces Big Challenges in Fall
Natalie Sawatzky is the new principal at Meadowbrook Elementary School in Golden Valley. Sawatzky has been at Meadowbrook since 2005 as a counselor and assistant principal.
“I am thrilled and excited,” Sawatzky said. “I’m very honored. We have a history of having really dynamic leadership and so I’m humbled to think that I will follow in those footsteps. Not only have I been here for 15 years but my own children have gone to Meadowbrook. “
However, Sawatzky doesn’t have much time to celebrate her new promotion at the Golden Valley school. Because of COVID 19, the Hopkins District is preparing multiple plans for the upcoming school year that includes kids in the classroom and out of the classroom.
“Governor Walz has asked us to prepare for the three scenarios,” Sawatzky said. “We have around 100 staff members in Hopkins working on those three scenarios. How can we improve in the distance learning? How can we think about what a hybrid model might look like that might reduce capacity in buildings and allow for some kids to get back? Really it’s unknown until the governor makes his decision.”
Pandemic challenges at Meadowbrook
The pandemic created unique challenges for Meadowbrook Elementary last spring when the facility closed and everything shifted to distance learning.
“Challenging in the way that it was something that we had never done before,” Sawatzky said. “But I think its taught us a lot about how teachers adapt to change frequently. If there’s any group of professionals that know how to pivot and go down a new path quickly, it’s educators.”
Sawatzky replaces Greta Evans-Becker as principal. Her mission is to focus on students as much as possible.
“Big picture, I’m a leader that really is student-centered,” Sawatzky said. “Students are the reason we are here. Nurturing each student as individuals and what they authentically bring to our building is important. They are going to change the world, so it’s our job to give them what they are going to need to do that and building off what they already bring.”