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Rieckenberg named new Highlands principal

Aerial view of Kuhlman stadium with water tower in foreground.

Edina Public Schools is pleased to announce the hiring of Dr. Cara Rieckenberg as the next principal at Highlands Elementary School. Rieckenberg brings 14 years of leadership experience in programs focused on STEAM and environmental education. She was selected as the Edina Teacher of the Year this spring by the Edina Chamber of Commerce.

Rieckenberg has been a continuous progress teacher at Highlands for the past two years. Prior to that she was the STEAM program coordinator at the School of Engineering and Arts in Golden Valley for eight years. Her responsibilities included leadership of the magnet school, oversight of implementation of STEAM curriculum, and development of partnerships with STEAM-related professionals statewide. Rieckenberg successfully acquired numerous grants that directly impacted classroom teaching. Under her leadership, the school was awarded a National Blue Ribbon in 2018, and a National Green Ribbon in 2020.

In previous positions, Rieckenberg was the environmental education coordinator in the Prior Lake-Savage Area School District for six years; led numerous trips to Belize, Central America, as a marine biologist instructor for International Zoological Expeditions; and has been a consultant for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Rieckenberg is an adjunct professor at St. Catherine University, Hamline University and St. Thomas University, and has been a frequent presenter at state and national conferences.

Rieckenberg holds a bachelor of science degree in animal ecology from Iowa State University; a bachelor of science degree in elementary education from Minnesota State University-Mankato; a master of science degree in experiential education from Minnesota State University-Mankato; and an educational doctorate of leadership from the University of St. Thomas. She will begin her new role at Highlands on July 1.