HENNEPIN — In the midst of a year challenged by the pandemic, Putnam County schools is undergoing a transfer in leadership.
Clayton Theisinger is taking over the reins from outgoing Superintendent Carl Carlson.
“For me the past few weeks have been filled with eagerness and anticipation, and I am honored to write to you today as Superintendent of Putnam County Community Unit School District #535,” Theisinger wrote in a letter to district families.
“After spending the last five years as principal of PCHS, I know this community and its families carry an extraordinary enthusiasm for providing every student in all PC schools with the best learning opportunities possible. I am excited to serve with the Board of Education, teachers and staff, families, and community to build off the past and recent achievements and elevate the possibilities for all students to reach their greatest potential in the many years ahead.”
Theisinger began his career in education began at La Salle-Peru High School as a special education teacher, then transitioned to administration at LPHS as the director of teaching and learning.
Theisinger was provided the opportunity to serve as the high school principal in Putnam County, where he says he immediately grew to love the students, staff, schools and community.
“These experiences have only strengthened my basic philosophy of education — schools serve to provide students with the opportunities, experiences, knowledge and skills that allow them to pursue their individual goals and aspirations” he said.
“Beyond the school doors, my life is centered on my family. My wife (Alison) works for the local hospital system and I am the father to two amazing children (Millie and Mac). They too share their appreciation and excitement for this journey ahead.
“As superintendent, I look to the past 18 months as a starting point for how we begin to move our schools in a forward direction. The pandemic has drastically changed the manner in which we have operated, but it has not changed our purpose or focus on bettering learning opportunities for students.”
In the weeks and months ahead, Theisinger said his primary goal is to continue to learn about the PC schools and community from the perspective of his new role.
“I will stay informed on the updates from our state and beyond to collaborate with our Board of Education and community in appropriately navigating our schools closer to normalcy while ensuring the continued safety of all students and staff. Along the way, you can expect continued communication from the District and me to keep everyone informed,” he said.
“I anticipate sending more messages on a frequent basis in the next few weeks. I am optimistic about the growth of our students and schools in the many years ahead and look forward to seeing you around the schools and community.”
At this time, Theisinger said the district awaits guidance from the state regarding any requirements for COVID-19 protocols for the new school year.
“They have been silent this summer on what will be required of schools in the upcoming year and what we can return to local control,” he said. “From pandemic-related guidance to curriculum considerations, we will have a lot of information to sift through in the next few weeks. As this information is considered and our Board of Education makes decisions, I will be in continued communication with families regarding the year.”
Registration has been scheduled for 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursday, July 29. Online registration will be opened to streamline the process.