Lafean named principal at CLC

Mary Bailey
Community Editor

Kelly Tschudy-Lafean, assistant principal at Century Junior High, has been named the new principal at the Central Learning Center.

She will replace Kelly Lessman, who was named the new director of special education for Forest Lake Area Schools. The current special ed director, Deb Wall, will retire June 30.


As principal of the Central Learning Center, Lafean will be in charge of Central Montessori Elementary and the Area Learning Center, an alternative secondary school. She will also lead the Student Transition Education Program for adult students with disabilities, located on Broadway Avenue.

Lafean will assume her new duties on July 1. The transfer was approved as part of the consent agenda at the May 15 School Board meeting.

She earned BS and MS degrees in Special Education from St. Cloud State University and a Specialist Degree in Educational Leadership from Minnesota State University in Mankato. She currently holds K-12 special education, K-12 principal and special education director licenses.

Lafean joined the district as a dean of students at Forest Lake High School in 2003 and became assistant principal at Century in 2005, where she also supervises special ed.

Before coming to Forest Lake she worked as a special education teacher in Hawaii and in the South Washington County school district. She was the assistant principal at Crestview Elementary School before coming to Forest Lake.

“I will create a nurturing environment for all the students,” Lafean said of her new appointment.

The board also approved a draft version of the Teacher Development and Evaluation Plan created by a committee of district staff and members of the teachers union, Forest Lake Education Association.

Minnesota requires that the district and union either agree on an evaluation model or use the state model and begin evaluating teachers in 2014-2015.

The Q Comp alternative pay system, which will begin at the same time, was designed with the state requirement in mind.

Forest Lake Education Association leaders have been visiting the schools to explain the plan. Teachers will vote on May 28.

Board Member Kathy Bystrom asked if student engagement would be based on student feedback or solely on observations by staff. 

Curriculum Director Diane Giorgi said the formal process is observation, but some teachers do get feedback from their students. Teachers will be observed three times a year over three years, she said.

“It would be tricky to manage,” said Jennifer Tolzmann, director of teaching and learning, but may be added in the future. “The best measure of student engagement is feedback from students.” 

Superintendent Linda Madsen agreed, citing research from Harvard University. 

“There is a certain cost involved, so we want to be really committed. Until teachers are on board, we need to walk lightly for now, but the data is good,” Tolzmann concluded.

Board Member Erin Turner suggested a practical approach. 

“You must know which teachers’ classes fill up quickly,” she said. “Popular teachers are good; their students are engaged.” 

Policies for a non-bargaining group of employees, called the general benefits group, was adjusted for 2012-2014. The board approved a wage increase for the pool attendant from $9.50 to $9.85 per hour and added benefits for the shop foreperson.

The entire board was present, and all votes were unanimous.