When the 2020-21 school years starts, Red Oak Elementary school will have a new principal. The only principal the school has ever had, Mitchell Perrine, is retiring at the end of July.
Perrine has worked in education for 38 years with 24 of those years in the Shakopee School District.
“It was a very tough decision to make,” Perrine said. “I really intended to work another year or two but with all the unknowns I thought this was the right decision for me.”
Perrine started his career in Shakopee as the principal at Pearson Elementary in 1996. He stayed at Pearson until 2002 when he moved to the newly opened Red Oak Elementary.
“We are so thankful for Mr. Perrine’s leadership through the years, and we will miss him very much in our district,” Shakopee Superintendent Mike Redmond said. “We also know students, parents, staff and the entire Red Oak community are sad to see him leave. He is truly a class act that has done great work for our Shakopee students.”
The chance to build the culture and lay the groundwork for a new school was what drew Perrine to the job.
“To have that type of impact across the entire building was something I desired,” Perrine said. “Every principal needs to do that at least once. It’s exciting, and frustrating at the same time. You get to set up the feel and the culture of the building.”
In his many years as a principal, a lot has changed and nothing changed more then in his final three months of the 2019-20 school year.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit and schools moved from in-person teaching to distance learning it was a hard on everybody from students, teachers and administrators.
“It was definitely a challenge,” Perrine said. “In a matter of days, we completely changed how we delivered our instructions and I can’t say enough about how well the teachers adapted to doing that.”
With the announcement of his retirement, Perrine said he will spend more time at his cabin near McGregor and hopefully get out and travel the country once he feels it’s safe to do so.
Perrine said he will miss Red Oak Elementary and Shakopee schools.
“Red Oak has a strong sense of family and community where we all work together to do what is best for kids as a team,” he said. “Shakopee has been my work home for 24 years and I cannot think of a better place to have had the opportunity to work with such outstanding teachers, staff, parents, kids, and colleagues. I am thankful to have had so many great people to share my educational journey with.”
Replacing Perrine at Red Oak Elementary will be a familar face to Shakopee families.
The school district announced last week that Doug Schleif will be the new Red Oak principal for the 2020-21 school year on an interim basis.
Schleif, worked in the Shakopee School District for 16 years, and retired at the end of the 2017-18 school year.
“We feel very fortunate Doug Schleif is able to step in and help us fill this important leadership role,” Redmond said. “With the start of school fast approaching, we were not in a position to conduct a robust search for a permanent principal. Mr. Schleif served as elementary principal for 16 years in Shakopee at both Pearson Elementary and most recently at Jackson Elementary. His experience and knowledge of the district allow him to come in, and hit the ground running from day one. Hiring an interim principal for the coming school year allows us to conduct a full search with wide participation in the spring of 2021 to fill the position.”