When Collins-Maxwell Schools found itself needing a new high school principal this past July, Corey Lunn just happened to be looking to get back into a principal position somewhere.
Their stars aligned, and Lunn came into the job following the sudden resignation of predecessor Jordan Nelson.
“After 11 years of superintendencies (he’d been at Johnston four, and before that served two schools in Minnesota at Montgomery Lonsdale and Stillwater), I just felt something was missing. I missed being with kids, missed being with teachers and wanted to spend more time with my family,” he said.
He’d started looking. “And this opened up and I felt it was close and they needed somebody,” he said.
It was “baptism by fire” when he arrived, he described, but he’s been very impressed with the Collins-Maxwell School District, which is much smaller than his past two districts, Johnson and Stillwater.
“I’ve been impressed with the one-to-one technology, the great schedule, that they have a lot of electives and the DMACC courses for kids to take,” he said. “And we started with a state championship in softball. There’s been a lot of positive energy here.”
The thing Lunn likes most about Collins-Maxwell so far is how it feels like family. “In the big districts, it’s all about numbers. Here it’s all about family … people like working together.”
Lunn commutes to Maxwell from Ankeny, where he lives with his wife, who works in health care in Des Moines. The couple has two children, a son who just started college at Montana State University, where he’s majoring in film studies, and a daughter who is finishing her high school years at Johnston. She’s now a junior.
Lunn pointed out that he is in an interim position as the school’s middle/high school principal. As to whether it will become more permanent, he isn’t sure at this time.
“They (the school’s board) really need time to consider what they want to do… They have a lot of decisions that will be made about how to move forward,” he said. Ottie Maxey has agreed to continue as part-time superintendent this year. Maxey was supposed to be fully back at Ballard this year until Nelson’s resignation happened, and he then agreed to stay on one more year.
With a superintendency background, Lunn hopes he can provide the needed assistance to Maxey, too.
Lunn comes from a family of educators and said he never intended to become one. But he started teaching swimming lessons and coaching and loved it. “The thing about our profession is that you make a difference,” he said. Prior to becoming a superintendent, Lunn, who grew up in Jackson, Minn., started out as a high school science teacher and athletic coach for football and track. For 18 years, he was with Prior Lake, Minn., schools, where he was a teacher/coach, dean of students, middle school activities director, assistant principal, middle school principal and high school principal.
His goals during this year with Collins-Maxwell, he said, are two-fold. First, “I want to make sure students and staff have a good year. I’m here to support them.” Second, he wants to utilize his experience to help work out the issues that arise. For example, he said, there was a scheduling issue that came up and he was able to help work it out.
“I’m thankful, they’re thankful. It’s really a great situation for everybody,” he said of the fact that he was available when Collins-Maxwell needed to fill the position. And for this year, at least, he’s satisfied. “I’ve made the right choice.”