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Challenges, opportunities ahead

Posted 8/01/12 (Wed)

By Kate Ruggles
Farmer Staff Writer

The retirement of Watford City Elementary School Principal Sherry Lervick left many wondering what would happen in the community. Especially, with the McKenzie County Public School District No. 1 on the cusp of so much growth.
Well, now the wondering and waiting is over.
Brad Foss, a teacher and school administrator from Hazen, started this past week as the new elementary school principal, and as he puts it, “All emotions are flowing.”
“I am excited to be here, I am nervous to be here, and everything in-between,” states Foss.
Some of the challenges Foss anticipates are the same worries the school superintendent and school board share.
“Housing for teachers and housing in general will be a challenge,” states Foss. “The cost of living is going up, but teacher salaries stay the same, which is a concern for newly-hired teachers not from this area.”
Other concerns Foss will face have to do with rising enrollments, limited building space, and in general, dealing with new students with different backgrounds in education.
“North Dakota has pretty high standards when it comes to education,” Foss states. “It will be a priority to get the new students on the same page with North Dakota’s educational standards.”
A general goal Foss has is a desire to keep things the same in the midst of so much change.
“Even though the boom is going on, there are still normal things going on, too. We want parents and the community to see that,” states Foss.
“The McKenzie County Public School District No. 1 is excited to have Brad as part of our administrative team,” states Steve Holen, superintendent. “Mr. Foss brings a solid administrative background from the Hazen school district and will provide strong leadership to our elementary school during this time of transition and student growth. He is ready to face the challenges present at the elementary regarding the upcoming building project, uncertain student enrollment increases, the move of the sixth grade to the high school building and the large number of new teachers in the elementary building. These are exciting times for Watford City Elementary School and Mr. Foss will be of great assistance in leading our elementary school and promoting student success at the elementary level.”
Foss grew up attending a lot of different schools in Montana, South Dakota and North Dakota. When he was in the fifth grade, Foss’ family settled in Mott, N.D., which is where Foss graduated from high school.
He enrolled in Dickinson State University (DSU) with the intention of becoming a veterinarian or something biology-related, but he fell in love with coaching, instead.
“I started coaching baseball during the summer, back in Mott,” Foss states. “Then I went back to DSU and coached elementary basketball in Dickinson, while in school.”
Foss changed majors, and graduated with a Biology and Physical Education major with a Driver’s Education minor, and landed a job teaching science and coaching boys and girls basketball and track in Columbus, N.D.
Two years later, due to the declining enrollment of the Columbus School District, Foss got a job in Stanley teaching Physical Education and Science and coaching boys basketball.
In another two years, Foss began teaching Junior. High Science and coaching for the Dickinson Trinity schools, where he would spend the next 20 years. During his time at Dickinson Trinity, he worked as the assistant, and then head boys and girls basketball coach, the assistant and then head track coach, the assistant, then head volleyball coach, and a teacher coach, where he would mentor new teachers.
He also, while teaching and coaching at Dickinson Trinity, went back to school to get his Master’s Degree in Administration, with a certification in Elementary and Secondary Education.
When he left Dickinson Trinity, it was for an Administrator and Athletic Director position with Hazen Middle School. Four years later, Hazen did some reorganizing, part of which was going from three administrators to two.
Foss, who had the opportunity to stay with Hazen, chose to apply for the Middle School Principal and Athletic Director position with McKenzie County Public School District No. 1 instead.
He was offered the Elementary Principal position and the ability to split Athletic Director duties with Randy Cranston, head boys and girls basketball coach for McKenzie County School District No. 1, and he accepted.
“I am really excited to still be a part of the Athletic Director position,” states Foss.
According to Foss, he is the current president of the North Dakota Interscholastic Athletic Administrative Association (NDIAAA), which works with North Dakota athletic directors and schools to discuss and help solve issues, and offers training for athletic drectors across the state.
Foss is married with three children in their 20s. He has one grandson, and a grandchild who is due this week in Arizona. Two loves of his are his family and sports.