For the last 18 years Larry Guggisberg served as Superintendent of the Roseau School District– a school with an enrollment of nearly 1,200. Beginning in July, he began serving as the part-time Superintendent of the Greenbush-Middle River School District– a school with an enrollment of about 275 students. Despite this change in numbers, the job doesn’t change for him.
“For what I’m being asked to do… whether you’re in Roseau or in Greenbush, or Badger, you still have to do as superintendent those same things,” Guggisberg said. “Now, they might not be as large or as encompassing, but you still have to do those things.”
Guggisberg, who is replacing Tom Jerome– the Superintendent of the Greenbush-Middle River School for the past seven years– discussed his reactions at getting the GMR job, the experiences he has had so far within GMR, the things he’s looking forward to most about serving this district, the way he views his role, and the ways he looks to tackle some of the district’s challenges.
Including his 18 years as the Roseau Superintendent Guggisberg brings much public education experience with him. Graduating with a bachelor’s degree in teaching from Bemidji State University in 1980, he served as a middle school social studies teacher, and junior high basketball and assistant varsity baseball coach in the Grand Rapids, Minn., school district for eight years. Also, while in Grand Rapids, he worked as a part-time community college instructor and community education teacher.
He returned to school during his teaching years to earn his school administration degree from the University of Minnesota. He took his first administration job as the Roseau Assistant High School Principal, a job he occupied from 1988 to 1997. He then served as the Roseau Elementary School Principal from 1997 to 2001 before beginning on as the Roseau Superintendent.
Larry and his wife Kris resided in Stafford Township west of Badger for four years before moving into Roseau. They have two children, Jamie and Eric, both Roseau High School and University of Minnesota-Minneapolis graduates.
Despite being a superintendent for the past 18 years, Guggisberg does continue to learn something new each day, but believes his past experiences will allow for an easier transition into GMR.
“I feel blessed that I’ve had a number of years experience where I can, as I said earlier, hit the ground running,” Guggisberg said.
Asked what he enjoyed most about his time within the Roseau School District, he pointed to the energy.
“Whether it’s Roseau or Greenbush(-Middle River), the excitement of a school and the activities in the school and the enthusiasm, spirit, or whatever you want to call it of kids, it’s unique,” Guggisberg said. “Yes, it’s my workplace being in a school, but that energy, the energy that kids have, the energy that the community has for what their school does, it makes it an enjoyable place to work.”
When he first heard he would be serving the GMR District, he felt excited. In this new job, he has quickly discovered what he described as the “impressive” support surrounding GMR– people with great pride in their school and community and a desire to see its school advance. He looks foward to being a part of that Gator Nation pride.
“I’ve had a blast since I’ve been here. I’ve met some really wonderful people,” Guggisberg said.
Discussing some of the other positives, he doesn’t see a shortage of opportunities for the district’s students– FIRST Robotics, drama, athletics, and academics to name a few.
“For a smaller school or a school that is smaller than my previous district, you have a lot of opportunities for kids,” Guggisberg said. “… Not only do you have a lot of things that’s out there, but you have great success (in those things).”
This provides what he calls “great energy” that he looks forward to being a part of as superintendent.
“I like attending sports. I’m a sports person, so it’s not going to be uncommon to see me at a volleyball game, basketball game,” Guggisberg said. “And it’s just fun to see the education and action for kids and that applies not only for sports, but other things, other activities that you have.”
For Guggisberg, the GMR job is providing a change of scenery– one of different size and opportunities and challenges– but he looks to approach the job in the same way he has done throughout his career.
To see the full story, read the August 28 issue of The Tribune in print or online.