Movers and Shakers is a weekly feature of the Sunday EXTRA.
Ken Stoll, 43, became principal of Minden Elementary School in the 2003-04 school year. Previous to the promotion, Stoll worked as a teacher for 10 years in the Douglas County School District.
Where are you originally from? I grew up on the Mississippi River in Wisconsin, but we came to the Valley via Montana in 1989. My wife attended a job fair (there). When she returned home, we investigated the area and decided it would be a great place to live. At the time, I was working with delinquents at a group home.
When did you become principal of Minden Elementary School? This is my first year as an administrator. I worked as a teacher here in the district for 10 years prior to this position.
What did you study in school? My original degree from Montana State was in Social and Criminal Justice, which explains my working with delinquents. After seeing my wife’s love for education, I decided to return to school and obtain teacher certification from Nevada. Finally, I obtained my Master’s degree from the University of Phoenix in Education Leadership allowing me to be in my current position.
What are your job responsibilities? There are several responsibilities with this position. One of the big ones is student safety and well-being while on our campus. It’s very difficult to learn if you feel threatened. Also, working closely with all staff members to assure we provide for each individual’s learning needs. Our goal here is to produce excellent students and good citizens and that requires teamwork, which I attempt to coordinate. Finally, there are those days where I pick up a broom or a mop because the job needs to be done.
What is a typical day’s schedule? One thing I learned very quickly on this job is there is no such thing as typical. The average day length is about 10 hours and on most days I forget to eat lunch, so the secretaries have now started reminding me. The only thing that I do that may be called typical is that you find me out at recess and lunch with the kids. Now what happens at those times is a different story.
What is a little-known fact about your job or a misconception? I think the biggest misconception is that principals don’t spend enough time interacting with students in a positive manner. Too many people think that because a student is speaking with the principal that they must have done something wrong. The majority of principals I know take the time to learn who the students are. I personally enjoy these interactions and students here never know if I’m reprimanding a student or sharing a joke.
What is the most difficult part of your job? What is your favorite? The most difficult part of this job is dealing with negative situations. It is my job to take these situations and turn them into something positive. It’s not always an easy task, but the effort is well worth it. My favorite part is easy, the kids. There is something about the youthful enthusiasm and curiosity of students that can brighten any day.
In your spare time, what activities do you enjoy? My family and I love to go camping, which allows us to hike and kayak in wonderful places. We also ski and I like getting out on my mountain bike with friends.
Do you have family? What are their names and ages?
My wife, Mary, and I have been married 19 years. We have two wonderful girls, Shelby, 9 and Kai, 6.
Who is your role model? My parents have always been very positive role models. I have them to thank for instilling a work ethic that has served me well through the years. The other role model is my wife, Mary, for her dedication to both education and our family. She motivates me to become better everyday.
Who is your favorite artist? I can’t really pick one artist as a favorite because we listen to a very large variety. The last concert we attended would probably be Mumbo Gumbo at the Rib cook-off.
Interview conducted by Maggie O’Neill. To nominate someone for the Movers & Shakers feature, contact News Editor Sally J. Taylor at firstname.lastname@example.org or (775) 782-5121 ext. 215.