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Berg returns to Farmington High School as administrator

Farmington High School's new assistant principal won't have much trouble finding his way around the building. After all, he's only been gone from FHS for a couple of years.

Jason Berg is no stranger to FHS, nor to Farmington School District 192. He's lived in the community for years. His kids have been students here. And he taught math to Farmington students for more than a decade.

Berg replaces Kerry Timmerman, who took a job as principal at Park of Cottage Grove High School in October. FHS principal Ben Kusch said Farmington received a number of very qualified applicants, but Berg rose to the top for a number of reasons.

Berg has been affiliated with Farmington's schools since he was hired to teach high school math here in the 1993-94 school year. He held that position for five years, then moved on to Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, where he taught health and wellness and coached several sports for the next eight years. He came back to Farmington High School to teach high school math for three years, then moved into the role of math specialist for two years, ending with the 2010-11 school year. In his years in Farmington, Berg coached both boys and girls basketball.

Last year, he was hired as principal of Lincoln Elementary School in Owatonna, a post he's leaving at the end of this week. Berg will assume his new position at FHS Monday, Dec. 17, but he admits that leaving Owatonna will be somewhat bittersweet.

"You're in a building, you work with a staff, you work with kids. You work with parents. You form relationships," Berg said. "It's a little bit like when you coach a team or anything like that. It's a little bit like you're family."

Ultimately, though, it was the chance to work in the community where he and his family live that convinced Berg to accept the offer from FHS. In a blog he writes in Owatonna, Berg shared that his ninth grade son asked if he could ride to school with Berg, if Berg took the job. That's what sealed the deal.

"It's the district my kids are in. You can't underscore the importance of working in the same district your kids are in," he said.

That same familiarity was one of the qualities Kusch liked about Berg. Kusch is familiar with Berg's work as a teacher, a coach, a specialist and a colleague. As the math specialist, Kusch said, Berg was instrumental in making changes to the curriculum, and those changes have led to improvement in student achievement. Kusch is glad to have Berg on his administrative team.

"They made some great strides in bringing that curriculum to where it needs to be," Kusch said. "He's got experience as a leader, and he brings great energy to the position."

Berg is looking forward to coming back to Farmington schools. In his role as math specialist, he worked with students in elementary, middle and high school, so he's already knows quite a few students and staff around the district. He knows the philosophies and he's familiar with Farmington's education goals for students. He's excited to be part of the team that can make those goals happen.

"Farmington is in the process of looking at customized learning. That's one of the biggest draws to a position in Farmington right now," Berg said. "You're going to be on the leading edge of that, and that's an exciting thing as an administrator."

Berg's hiring was officially approved by the School District 192 Board of Education at Monday's meeting.

Michelle Leonard

Michelle Leonard joined the Woodbury Bulletin staff in November, 2014, after 14 years covering news for the Bulletin's sister publication, the Farmington Rosemount Independent Town Pages.  Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications: News-Editorial from Mankato State University in 1991. She is an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary Clifford Larson Unit 189 of Farmington, and served as the 2014-15 Third District President to the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Minnesota. Michelle is also the volunteer coordinator for the Minnesota Newspaper Museum which is open annually during the Minnesota State Fair. She has earned Minnesota Newspaper Association awards in Investigative Reporting, Local News Coverage, Feature Photography and Column Writing. 

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