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School principal relied on divine guidance to land the right job

With the start of September, a new school year begins in River Falls. For local school kids that means new school supplies, maybe new school clothes.

At St. Bridget Catholic Parish School, it means a new principal.

Joelynn Lahr started at St. Bridget’s July 1 but says she feels as if it’s been much longer.

“I’ve been there for two months, and I feel like I’ve been there for three or four years,” she said. “It’s just very comfortable, very professional.”

Lahr has been a Spanish teacher for 27 years in public and private schools. She spent the last 15 years at Providence Academy in Plymouth, Minn. She was a founding faculty member and chair of world languages at that school.

When asked what drew her to St. Bridget’s, Lahr said her answer is simple.

“It’s God brought me there,” she said. “Prayer brought me there.”

She earned her license to be a principal in 2015, then prayed the right school would come along.

“I did my footwork, applied for positions...St Bridget’s came up, I applied and everything about it from the interview process all the way through just was welcoming and felt like a perfect fit.”

Lahr said she’s very impressed with the teachers, parents and other school “stakeholders” she’s met so far.

She’s looking forward to meeting and working with students this year.

Lahr got her first chance to interact with students at a new event she’s starting: A new family night held Monday evening to welcome the 27 new families that will be a part of St. Bridget’s this year.

Another new event Lahr is bringing to St. Bridget’s is a “Tears, Cheers and Prayers” event.

It will be held the morning of the first day of school for parents. There will be a prayer service, coffee and refreshments for parents as they drop their kids off.

“They can visit together, support one another, congratulate one another,” Lahr said, especially as some have eighth-graders will graduate St. Bridget’s after this year.

Lahr said this year she plans to maintain a strong focus on faith in the classroom.

She’s also planning to speak at a home and school association event.

St. Bridget’s recently completed a strategic plan, which Lahr said has affected some plans for the year.

“I’m going to address them all, thank them for sending their children,” she said.

For the complete story, see the Sept. 1 print issue of the River Falls Journal.

Gretta Stark

Gretta Stark has been a reporter for the River Falls Journal since July of 2013. She previously worked as a reporter for the New Richmond News from June 2012 to July 2013. She holds a BA in Print and Electronic Media from Wartburg College.

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