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New Highlands principal ‘charged up’ about elementary education

May 2, 2016
katie mahoney Edina Public Schools (EPS) proudly announces the hiring of Kathryn “Katie” Mahoney as the new principal of Highlands Elementary School. Mahoney replaces Peter Hodne, who is retiring at the end of the school year. She was selected following a process that included input from students, staff, parents and community members.

Hers will be a familiar face to many in the district, especially at Highlands. Mahoney was a kindergarten and fifth grade teacher there from 2007 to 2013. During that time she also was assistant to the principal for staff development and was instrumental in reorganizing staff development at the school into a professional learning community. She also served on the districtwide staff development lead team.

“I am really excited to return to Edina,” Mahoney said. “I have always connected with the All for All vision and the spirit of innovation in the district. Highlands is a very passionate school and I am looking forward to being part of that community again.” She and her family live in Edina and her youngest child is enrolled in the district.

For the past year, Mahoney has been principal at WestWood Elementary School in the Prior Lake-Savage Area Schools, which included leading the district’s gifted services program. Prior to that, she was assistant principal and grant project manager at Earle Brown Elementary School in Brooklyn Center Community Schools. She has twice served as acting principal at two different schools.

“I get really charged up about elementary education – it is where students have their first experiences in education,” she said. “I like to be part of helping them find their spark and passion.” Being a principal affords the opportunity to work with staff and families, too, she said, and to help lead professional learning. “I like being in conversation with staff about how to meet students’ needs,” she said, “and how to make every day a great day for students.”

Mahoney earned her bachelor’s degree in social work at the University of New Hampshire, Durham, N.H., and her master’s of education in curriculum and instruction at Lesley University, Cambridge, Mass. She holds an education specialist degree in educational leadership from the University of St. Thomas, and graduated from the Principal Academy, Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy and Development at the University of Minnesota.

Superintendent Ric Dressen said Mahoney’s administrative experience and relationship with the district made her the right choice for the Highlands position. “Our district is fortunate to have Katie returning in this position,” said Dressen. “She is an outstanding educator with amazing skills and talents. Her three years of administrative experience enhances her leadership ability to guide the Highlands community and Edina Public Schools. I am excited to have her return to our team.”

Mahoney will begin her work in the district on July 1.